We are having a one day Vacation Bible Saturday on July 21, from 9:30am-12:30pm. There will be music, crafts, games, and learning that God cares for all people through the story of Jonah and the Whale. The program includes lunch. Parents are invited to join us for lunch at noon. Please pre-register by calling the church: 785-266-6610, and leave a message; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no cost for this VBS.
Topeka Free Methodist Church, a member of Harvester’s network, will hold a Mobile Food Pantry in Topeka on Saturday, July 28, beginning at 9:00am. Plan to arrive by 9:00 (or before) since we often run out of food by 10:00. The food pantry will be held in the church’s parking lot: 3450 SE Indiana Ave. Topeka, Kansas 66605.
The Mobile Food Pantry will distribute food intended for families in need of emergency food assistance. The distribution of primarily fresh produce will take place on a first-come, first-serve basis. Recipients will be asked to provide the number in the household, and volunteers will distribute food from pallets directly into vehicles.
John Wesley wrote, “Christianity is essentially a social religion; and … to turn it into a solitary one is to destroy it.” Christianity is not just focused on personal salvation, but rather a faith that is lived and practiced in community with one another. Wesley also wrote, “The gospel of Christ knows no religion but social; no holiness but social holiness.” Loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves (the foundation of true holiness) must influence every area of our lives: personal and social.
Demonstrating compassion to all people and seeking justice for all people is a mark of the good news. At the beginning of His ministry Jesus said that He came to “proclaim good news to the poor … proclaim freedom for the prisoners … and to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18).
Wesley’s last personal letter, written just six days before he died, was addressed to William Wilberforce. Wilberforce had been converted under Wesley’s ministry and had used his influence as a member of the British Parliament to champion issues of social justice. In his short letter, Wesley urged Wilberforce to continue the fight against slavery. Wesley wrote, “O be not weary of well doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it.” Wilberforce’s tireless efforts resulted in the abolition of the slave trade in 1807 and the complete abolition of slavery in all British territories in 1833. The abolition of slavery passed in the House of Commons on July 26; just three days before Wilberforce died on July 29.
William Wilberforce, whom I consider a hero of the faith, may have been remembered primarily for his fight against slavery, but he also put his faith into action through no less than 65 social initiatives. For example, he began the free education movement, so that all people, not just the wealthy, might have an opportunity to receive an education. He introduced child labor protection. He fought for prison reform. He sought to improve the working conditions for chimney-sweeps and textile workers. Wilberforce even founded the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), and he commissioned the first National Gallery of Art in England.
William Wilberforce is remembered and honored for putting his faith into action … he sought social justice and demonstrated compassion because he loved God and his neighbor. How might we put our faith into action? What can we do to seek justice for all people and to demonstrate compassion? How will we show that we love God and our neighbor?