Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fish and Loaves

Today the church I have been a part of held our once per month food distribution to families need. Because our church recently decided to discontinue our weekly gatherings (more on this in the next post), we are also ending our regular food distribution.

As I left the neighborhood where we distributed food the past 2 years, the finality of the event stirred unexpected emotions within me. As I drove the streets of this community I recalled the first months of this ministry when we walked the streets and knocked on every door informing people that we would be there if they ever needed help. We were a a new church community taking a step with very few resources and with little knowledge of what would come of this adventure.

I remember our first food distribution when no one came out to receive food. I told our members, "Don't worry, these things take time. God can still use us". Inside I thought, "This is a huge failure. What are we doing here?"

The next month, much to my delight and surprise, we had a line 40 families long. People needed food and heard that we were there for them!

Over the next 2 years a young couple in our church coordinated a monthly distribution and fed hundreds of people in the process. Most months our food ministry fed twice as many families than who attended our gatherings. Somehow our small experimental community found the means to do something positive and God always used the few "fish and loaves" that we could provide and multiplied them to feed a hungry community.

As we move to a purely online presence as a church we will still offer help to anyone who is in need but I must say that I am sad to see this chapter close. We set out with the mindset that "church should exist for the benefit of its non-members" and today I can look back and say we fulfilled this desire. The people of Soma Church of Orange County were able to join in a movement of living the ways of Jesus everywhere, everyday. When Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God is at hand", he was telling us the time is now to join in the order of the King and His kingdom. It is a Kingdom that gives food to the hungry even if it is just a few fish and a few loaves. The King always has, and always will, take care of the rest.

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