From your pastor… ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’ (Luke 10: 36-37 NRSV)
One of the greatest parables that Jesus told was the story of the “Good Samaritan.” It is inspiring because a complete stranger from Samaria helps a Jew from Israel in his time of need. Normally, these folks did not even speak to each other. There was a long history of prejudice and ill will among their peoples. This story shows the best of humanity, that we can cross barriers and divisions that we have created and begin to bring down those walls that separate us. Showing mercy is something that Jesus practiced every day in his ministry on the earth. In the song, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” I love the phrase: “Streams of mercy never ceasing.” This phrase surely describes God. And, it should describe the church of Jesus Christ.
We get so many calls for help every month at the church. We are able to respond to help some of the people. Our funds for helping are extremely limited, and many times, people have needs that are greater than we can meet. Rent and mortgage payments are examples of things that are above our resources to meet. However, we are at times able to help with keeping the water on or the lights on for a family in Algiers. Over the years, we have helped folks to get a LA. ID card, bus tickets, gas, prescription medicine, clothing, and food. We now refer requests for food to the local food bank, the United Churches of Algiers Food Bank in the Monday building at 1111 Newton Street in Algiers.
How do we fund these benevolent efforts? The offering given during Holy Communion helps to sponsor this ministry of mercy. It is not a big offering, but it is amazing how God uses the little financial resources we have to serve our community. We also have some memorial funds that we draw from when needed. We cannot meet all of the needs of people in Algiers for help, and there are some months that I have to say no to the person requesting aid. I try to refer them to other resources, but these days, resources are scarce. I always offer to pray with them, and most of them welcome the prayer. I believe that God blesses these efforts, even though we have available a small amount each month to work with, it is like the widow’s mite in the Bible. Thank you all for your faithfulness in showing mercy as we are able to the people in need of help in the Algiers community.
Grace and peace,