Serving others is a hallmark of Christianity. Jesus served others with dedicated and encouraged his followers to do likewise. Jesus taught his disciples to “love the Lord thy God” and to “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 2:37, 39). Helping others is one way to show that love. It means making his choice of life your own, using your potential to bring his teachings to the place you find yourself. It means holding in your heart the values for which Jesus lived and died. It means following the path he took and seeing things as he saw them. We can learn a lot from the way that Jesus loved. He is after all the one who loved the most. For no one understands love more than those who lay down their lives for their friends. Through invitation and openness, we can help those who are in need. We are called to be converted to love every day.
Currently Covid 19 is grinding the country to a halt with school and business closures and health workers stretched. Tales of shops with empty shelves due to panic buyers and people ignoring government social distancing advice have brought criticism, but the outbreak is also bringing the best out in some people. Jesus made it clear that we should follow His example by loving and serving others. With vulnerable neighbours and relatives advised to self-isolate, many communities are rallying around to support each other. This can be seen on social media with fitness classes and bingo taking place on roof tops so that people in apartments can take part from their balconies and everyone can feel included.
In my own local community, our neighbourhood information WhatsApp group has become a vital tool in reaching out to our vulnerable members. It has also become a place of support, encouragement and helpful tips for our young families. Many of us have come together offering to pick up shopping or deliver medicine to those isolating/cocooning and teachers in the community have offered their support to parents who are home-schooling their children. Those who have musical gifts have been keeping us entertained by giving free concerts from their front gardens. This has been a blessing during the nice weather as it provides an opportunity to sit outside in our own gardens and enjoy the music.
For the children we have had some fun initiatives such as the reverse St Patrick’s Day Parade and egg painting for Easter. For St Patrick’s Day, the children in our community created beautiful artwork to put up in the front windows of their houses for St Patrick’s Day. People could enjoy the artwork while going on walks around the estate. We called it a reverse St Patrick’s Day parade, because you walk by it instead of the parade going by you. For Easter, the children decorated hardboiled eggs and their parents sent the pictures into the WhatsApp group. Children that decorated eggs received an Easter goodie bag on Sunday morning for all their great work.
As a community navigating through this difficult time, we have also stood together in solidarity with our frontline workers and for all those who have lost their lives. On Easter Sunday night, each household placed a candle outside their front doors and stood for a moment in silence to remember those who have lost their lives to Covid 19, their loved ones, and to thank our key frontline staff for their ongoing crucial work throughout the crisis.
As a Christian community, we are encouraged to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. In the Bible, Jesus teaches that by serving other people, we are actually serving God. Your service reflects your love for him and your trust in doing the things he has asked you to do. God promises that serving others will bless your life in meaningful ways. It is time for us to let the true meaning of the Gospel impact our actions in our lives. So keep Jesus before your eyes. Help those who need us now more than ever. Covid 19 may have thrown us into darkness, but by our actions we can help Jesus’ light of hope and love shine brightly in our world. “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
-Written by Kirsten Mahon