God always shows up in the soup kitchens

My spiritual journey lately has mostly taken place within the pages of books and class lectures. I’ve been reading the Qur’an, reading a book on Muslim feminists, listening to lectures on Judaism, and learning about the psychology of religious coping.

I haven’t really bothered to go to any churches or religious services. This is partly because my car is on the fritz, and partly because I almost never leave church happy.

Except at University Church.

Abe and I discovered this little church in Toledo one Saturday night when we decided that we should probably go to church the next day but we didn’t want to wake up early. University Church had a night service.

Hallelujah, chunky peanut butter.

And we fell in love with that little church.

It heals the soul, it does.

And after a tough week of battling mild PTSD from my experience at a rock concert a few weeks ago, hearing frustrating political news, and even losing a friend because of my new-found religious questioning, I needed soul healing.

So, Abe and I made the half-hour trip up to Toledo.

During the sermon, the pastor said, “God doesn’t always show up at church…”

I laughed a little. No God doesn’t…no, God doesn’t.

He continued, “But God always shows up in the soup kitchens. God always shows up when you’re helping others.”

And I thought, “God must show up at University Church a lot.”

See, the University Church does more than just sing a few songs and listen to a sermon every Sunday. They are dedicated to something greater.

They don’t just pray for the hungry people in their neighborhood, they feed them by using church property to plant gardens and raise chickens. They work at soup kitchens. They raise awareness about poverty. They volunteer at elementary schools to help with activities and donate supplies. Some of their church members open their houses to the homeless. (You can read more about the University Church on their website)

And God shows up.

The University Church doesn’t have to tell you that it believes love is an action. It’s obvious. It doesn’t have to preach about the coming Kingdom of Heaven, because it’s building the Kingdom here on earth.

It heals your soul just to visit because Love, active tangible Love, is there.

Abe and I left University Church last night, and he said to me, “I always feel good when I leave that place. They’re doing things right.”

I agreed.

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  • http://www.washingtonchristian.net Ed Taylor

    Sarah, this is totally what we hope we are doing. That pastor is so right. How often do we try to push God out of our churches with our hollow rituals. But he always shows up when we’re getting our hands dirty.

  • http://theladyexpounds.wordpress.com Lady Tam Li

    I always prefer a church that’s doing stuff to one that’s just sitting around. :)

    Sorry about losing your friend. :( It’s always a shame when differing opinions lead to that sort of thing. *hugs*

  • http://gravatar.com/inmyworld86 inmyworld86

    Religion can cut really deep and I’m not sure the scars will ever go away, but I would have to agree, I’ve found some healing at The UC. I hope that you’re able to continue coming, and not just to service on Sundays because like someone else said, God can be found when you’re getting your hands dirty too. :)

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