This week is Compassion Week at CCF. Each day, we focus on a different issue facing our society, and challenge ourselves to step outside of our comfort zones to put ourselves in the shoes of those dealing with this issue. Today, the focus was on electricity.
Seven months after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September of 2017, 100,000 residents in Puerto Rico still did not have power. Today's challenge was to go the whole day without using electricity -- lights, laptops, phones, all of it. Because of this, Café was a little different: it was Café Unplugged! This meant that we sat a little closer together, we used candles for lighting, and worship was acoustic.
We talked about 1 John 3:16 - 18 tonight:
This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.
This passage talks about real love. In a world where the problems feel the most real, this passage calls us to bring life, light, and love to the people around us. It's the actions that make us trust the words. This is love in action: not just talking about love, but actually putting it into practice.
Tonight, we also got to hear from 4 people who do just this: Kirby Kasischke, Kathryn Higinbotham, Ashton Hattori, and Chris Williamson. Each individual talked about his or her experiences with service over the last few years, what it meant to them, and why they do what they do.
Kirby mentioned the unity behind service: each person brings what they can to the table, and together, the team can actually make a difference. Service to Kirby means giving thanks to God. God teaches us that showing love to others shows love to Him, and by showing love to others, we can give the gifts God has given us back to Him.
Kathryn talked about the worth that we give to others through service. By attributing worth to the community around us, we can also have our own worth reaffirmed. In the end, the way that the passage states, if we have the means to help others but choose not to, we aren't showing God's love to the people around us.
Ashton discussed how we can see results when we invest in other people. When we give up our time and energy in order to better the society around us, we have a part of someone's life which in turn helps us to move forward and grow. Giving up what we have can have direct impacts on other people.
Chris spoke about how service can break down walls. Serving can break down the barriers between "us" and "them," but this has to go beyond our friends -- it has to extend to the community at large. Sharing the love that is shown to us can make all the difference in another person's life. As Chris said, "We should treat the people around us less as numbers, and more as neighbors."
God challenges us to live the fullest of lives, and this includes serving and bringing worth to others. When we make a choice to leave our comfort zones, the world can see the hope and reconciliation that comes from the kingdom of God. We are called to reflect God to the world around us, and we can do this practically by backing our words with actions.
If you would like to get more involved with compassion events around CCF, you can sign up at www.gtccf.org/iwantcompassion or learn about opportunities at www.gtccf.org/compassion.