washing_3262c-2Read Jeremiah 31:31-34.

The other night our youth group served a meal at Park View Community Mission. In Lynchburg 24% of the population lives in poverty.  Every Wednesday evening, Park View hosts volunteer groups like our youth group who serve a free meal to anyone who shows up during the serving times.

There were whites and African-Americans. There were young and old. There were homeless and working poor. There were those with disabilities and there were those without.

There was a grandmother with her grandchildren.

There were new mothers with their preschool children.

There were high school students.

There were regulars who come every week, and there were those who came for the first time.

And then, there was us. We were seventeen middle school, high school, and college students, along with adults who rolled in with fried chicken, potato salad, cole slaw, and fruit – much of which was donated or homemade by members of our church. We sang songs and I “preached,” getting a high-five from a grandmother.

Then, we served the meal. And while it is impressive that we served 142 plates that night, what was more impressive was the images of the people listening to the students sing, connecting with the story I told, and engaging in conversation with the young people.

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This, I thought, is a vision of the Kingdom of God. A group of people brought together by the common thread of the Gospel’s message to love others as Christ has loved us. The words of the prophet Jeremiah ring true:

No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

From the least to the greatest. From the youngest to the oldest. From the richest to the poorest. They will know the Lord. This is the Kingdom of God I got a glimpse of on a Wednesday night in Lynchburg.

May we strive each day to walk as Jesus walked and love as Jesus loved.