A few weeks ago I received an email from Bishop Keith suggesting I contact Paul Millar, pastor at Westport FMC to learn about a congregational exercise in living love in action. I connected with Paul this week to get the full story.
One Sunday morning instead of sending the children downstairs to Sunday school Paul sent the adults. They headed down uncertain as to what lay ahead for the morning. Downstairs they found four stations. The first had beautiful paper and envelopes, the second had cards and scrap booking materials, the third had notecards and the fourth had food – lots of it! Cool! Were they going to share a meal and make some cards? Yes, but with a catch.
Paul had recently read an article in Relevant Magazine http://www.relevantmagazine.com/ where he learned about “inefficient love.” As Paul explained to me, “Love that costs something means more.” So for example sending a text saying “hi, thinking of you” is efficient but a hand written note on special paper sent the old fashioned way is much more inefficient but it may mean more to the recipient because it “cost” more in time, energy and thought.
Paul asked his congregation to put some inefficient love into action that Sunday morning. He asked them to choose one of the stations where they could write a letter to someone they wanted to engage or reconnect with, make an invitation for neighbors inviting them to a bbq, write a short note to someone who needed prayer or encouragement or make a meal and deliver it to someone in their lives who needed it.
They had enough food to make 100 meals and as Paul watched the cars pull out of the parking lot that Sunday morning he said, “it was like love pulling out of church.”
Some people in the community ended up with four or five meals from different members of the congregation. Someone confessed that they chickened out and didn’t deliver the meals but as Paul told me, “We need to have courage to love people even if it might be embarrassing or we might not know how it will work out. Fear stopped this person but it also provided a profound lesson in their life.”
One member of the congregation told Paul, “That was neat what we did last week but I really prefer a sermon.” Paul’s response, “There was a sermon last week and a much better one than I could have preached.” Paul wanted his congregation to live out their faith by trying something new and experiencing inefficient love which impacted the hearts of both the giver and recipient.
I’m usually a flowers or homemade baked goodies kind of encourager but I think I will hunt through my desk for some pretty paper and a stamp or two. Thanks Paul!