Last Sunday was an incredible day at Mount Vernon Place as we welcomed a large youth choir from Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church in Atlanta as well as surprise guests from Saint John's United Methodist Church in Albuquerque. It was one of those sweet days when you know the Spirit showed up - not only in worship when the youth choir sang so beautifully - but also at lunch as the congregation did everything they could to feed people. Sunday was the tip of the iceberg in a weekend that involved a lot of bread - manna from heaven.
I sent the following email to several people in our church on Monday morning. I'm still thinking about their ability to feed people several days later. It's an extraordinary gift to feed people. I pray we'll continue to do more of it.
In the Gospels, Jesus is made known often through the breaking of the bread. He’s regularly gathering around the table with people. He eats with folks others ignore. God shows up at meal time – in rich and powerful ways.
You fed a lot of people this weekend, and I am beyond grateful.
It started Thursday night with one of the largest groups we’ve had for dinner and a movie night. I counted right at 50 people before I left. There was so much joy in the air, and the Renaissance staff prepared a feast with so many people filling up on burgers, hot dogs and all the fixings. It’s an incredible partnership being built with the hotel, and I am grateful. Thank you for welcoming people with beautiful hospitality and for your extraordinary generosity of food and time.
On Friday, we had the most successful Jazz on the Steps to date. The yard signs helped draw people in as several people told me they passed earlier in the week and made a note of it. Susan then made sure no one walked by without being invited in. Many of our neighbors came – housed and unhoused. You helped feed over 100 people, and it was incredible. There were also glimpses of community, and I believe we are now called to continue to strengthen the communal aspects of an evening like this one so that everyone not only feels welcome but also that they met someone and got a truer taste of MVP.
On Sunday, you were prepared to feed those in our congregation plus 50 youth and their chaperones who came from Atlanta. Another youth group of 40 people from New Mexico then showed up unannounced, and you made sure all were welcome at the feast. And it was a feast!! There was more than enough food and lots of leftovers which were then shared with people on the porch last night through JR. Thank you for your quick thinking after the other group arrived, your ordering pizza, lending your credit card and enlarging the banquet. I cannot imagine many churches being able to do what you did so quickly. The fried chicken and other things from Giant were fantastic, and your staying to clean up is a gift.
You then sent me with dishes for a family that is deeply grieving. My prayer for this family is that they feel the love of God in powerful ways as they mourn the loss of a son they lost five months into the pregnancy. It was a gift to show up with meals for a couple of nights and dessert on top of it all. Thank you. Please continue to pray for them, too.
We were blessed with 213 people in worship yesterday – something that always makes my heart sing. But I think Jesus is taking delight not in the numbers but in the fact that we fed people – hungry people, hurting people, visiting people, gifted people, old people, young people – all kinds of people.
Thank you for the precious privilege of being your pastor.
Grace and peace,