I've talked before about Soul City Church and how much I am being blessed by being a part of this church community during my time in Chicago. I am so thankful to have found this place. Truly, going to church is often the highlight of my week. It's that good.
For the month of January, Soul City launched a campaign called Love Worksthat included a sermon series about love and then the last week of the month was dubbed "Love Works Week," during which the church set out to "put God's love to work in our city" by giving, serving, and praying. When they announced Love Works in December, I was immediately so excited by it because it resonated so deeply with why I'm here in Chicago this year.
The message behind Love Works is this:
God loves us SO MUCH. More than we can ever imagine or understand. When we understand that, we want nothing more than to love God back. We can do that by loving other humans. In John 13, Jesus told his disciples this: " So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
For the past month, we heard practical sermons like "How to love your Neighbor" and "How to love difficult people." We've learned about the Jewish Shema and how Jesus radically expanded on this traditionally "most important command in Judaism." We thought about the Good Samaritan and how maybe God is inviting us to walk tosomeone on our commute instead of just walking past them. If you want to watch the videos from this series, you can watch them online HERE- I'd definitely recommend it!
And this week, amidst negative 30 degree windchill and 8 inches of snow, Soul City Church put God's love to work. Partnering with 9 different organizations in the city, who are all doing amazing work, the people of Soul City Church sought to show God's love by LOVING. Because when all else fails, love works. Over 600 people spent a combined total of 3,024 hours volunteering in these organizations, doing projects like re-modeling spaces, organizing a clothing donation center, serving meals, painting walls, and building things. The kids of Soul City set a goal to raise $300 to go towards the work of Love Works and ended up raising over $1200 instead. It's amazing stuff. It's been a lot of fun to see the big things that God is doing through this group of people.
I have loved seeing and hearing Love Works this month at church because it speaks directly to why I am here in Chicago.
It doesn't have to be as crazy as moving across the country for a year of full-time service, but I believe that we, the followers of Jesus, have a lot of work to do. Jesus said that his people would be known for their love, but instead the church is more often know for what it is against.
Pastor Jarrett asked us this morning what we want to be known for. Do you want to be known for your love of football, or how dedicated you were to your job, or even how you worked so hard for your family? I want to be known for my love - love of God and love of people.
For me, it was easier to give up everything that was holding me back and jump all the way in, move 828 miles away with barely anything, and volunteer full time, but I know that not everyone is able to do that - and not everyone needs to! I had a lot of personal problems and issues that I was battling that held me back from loving well, but everyone has a different story and different struggles. I strongly believe that loving is possible no matter where you are.
So, people of God, get out there and get to work!
"God isn't asking you to do everything, but He is asking you to do something." - Jarrett Stevens