Deeds, not Words

Andrew Myler
We are in a tough stretch of readings in our lectionary. Honestly, we are struggling to find connectivity for younger audiences in my Chapel Leadership class. Last week, we studied the “Rich Man and Lazarus.” With my limited biblical knowledge, I expected to hear the story of Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life. I was wrong. Did you know that there was another Lazarus?

This Lazarus was sick and hungry. The rich man knew that Lazarus was there, and the rich man knew that Lazarus needed help. The rich man could see Lazarus. But, the rich man refused to reach out and help Lazarus. After reviewing two commentaries on the parable, the Chapel Leadership Team decided that Jesus was issuing a call to action.

We must do more than simply acknowledge when people suffer. We must take action to alleviate the suffering.

Last week, our 7th graders went to the Heiffer International Ranch in Arkansas. We “suffered” for two days, and we learned about the struggle people around the world (and in the United States) face as they try to feed their families. So, now, we know about the struggle. What action can we take to alleviate the suffering?

As you know, every week, we are taking middle schoolers to the Community Kitchen to serve our neighbors. The Community Kitchen staff also needs prep help on Saturday mornings. We know that people in Kansas City fight food insecurity. Take action—can you spare a couple of hours this month to help?

The St. Paul’s Food Pantry serves hundreds of families in the Kansas City area. We know that the pantry needs our support to feed our midtown neighbors. Take action—can you donate items for our next food drive?

On Monday, David and Purna from Mission Adelante visited middle school chapel. Purna, now an American citizen, arrived in the United States as a refugee from Bhutan. Purna shared a story of how one small act of kindness profoundly changed his life. A kind stranger noticed that Purna was seeking connection and reached out.

We have people in our school community who need our support. Take action--can we help those in our community who are struggling to connect? Can we be more inclusive?

The lesson of the “Rich Man and Lazarus” reminded me of a Latin phrase that I used to share with my soccer teams. Facta, non verba—Deeds Not Words. It’s easy to post a pledge or publish a mission or values statement. The hard part is the action.
As a member of the St. Paul’s community, I pledge to be honest, to respect others, to take responsibility for my actions and words, to be kind and inclusive, and to help others do the same.
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