In Your Own Backyard

Email Devotional Pentecost 6

But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields.

–Matthew 13:23

Upon encountering need in the world, sometimes we are prepared to be a good disciple. Sometimes God asks us to be an agent of goodness in our own backyard. In my experience, I find those backyard moments to be the most surprising.

Let me explain.

This morning St. Peter’s gathered for worship as it normally does during the summer at 8am and 9:45am traditional and our 9:45am New Day service. In all three services we heard the Gospel according to Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. The preachers preached on the sermon and did a fine job. Sermons focused on being good soil and receptive to the seeds of God’s word and God’s call to us in the world. The music at all three services focused on heeding God’s word and bearing good fruit.

It was a great to day to worship our Lord.

But at the end of the worship, I was tired. I wanted to go sit down, have lunch, and be in my own little world. And that’s when a parishioner faithfully came up and said, “Pastor, there’s a family outside who looks homeless. How do we help?”

My first response (internally) was, “Not now! I want to go have lunch!”

My second response (internally) was, “There’s homeless in the backyard of our church?!”

Then God reached into my heart…

My third response (externally, this time) was, “Yes. We can help.”

By the time I got outside with a buddy, I discovered that several of St. Peter’s members were already talking with the family. The family comprised of a dad and two little boys. The dad and his kids drove from another state that morning with the promise of daywork. The promise and the work, itself, didn’t come to fruition.  Without a day’s wages, the dad was trying to figure out what to do next, how to get back, and where else he may find some needed work. As a church, we were able to respond with a few resources for he and his boys.

But what struck me was not how the pastors and deacon responded to the situation, rather, I was struck by your actions.

Several of you had responded to this dad and his boys with compassion and a presence of welcome and hospitality to the whole family. Perhaps like me, you saw your own children in the eyes of his boys. Perhaps like me, you have had to put on a brave face in front of your kids when your plans went drastically down the drains and you were at wits’ end.

Nonetheless, this is the one of the many times that I have seen you, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, living out the Gospel. It’s the second time in a short number of weeks, where I have seen you live out the Gospel in an immediate way when the trials of life have happened in your own backyard. And this is what I’ve merely seen with my own eyes…I know that you live out God’s hope for you daily, in unobserved ways.

It gives me great joy to witness the many ways God uses you to bring about God’s kingdom. My soul sings when I see the seeds of God’s Word grow and bloom in you as you respond to needs in your own backyard.

I give thanks whenever you see something that yearns for God’s love and you respond “How do we help?”

God is growing good fruit in you, and to this as your pastor, I delightfully write, “Thanks be to God!”

Rev. Sarah Teichmann

Rev. Sarah Teichmann

Pastor of Christian Formation

I love working in a staff where we are able to use each other’s strengths for the glory of God. I am energized by the lay leaders of the church and the creative ways they can extend the mission of Jesus to congregational members and our community.

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