Pure and Undefiled Religion
As we approach the completion of the house renovation at Bloor-Lansdowne, we have been seeing God work in exciting ways. The week started at worship on Sunday at the Bloor-Lansdowne Christian Fellowship. They are a small inner-city congregation with a BIG heart. On Sunday there were about 15 people in attendance in a sanctuary that seats about 300. The walls could use a coat of paint, and the sound system was acting up. By most external measures, it would appear to be a church in need of some help. While it is true that every church needs each member to lend a hand, the true measure of this church is what goes on when the worship service is over. When the Sunday Morning worship is finished, another congregation uses the facility– a congregation made up of deaf individuals. At other times during the week, a Portuguese congregation, and later a Spanish congregation use the same facilities to offer praises to the same Lord who understands every language.
Then on Wednesday evenings, the church fills up again. This time, it fills with the grateful chatter of nearly one hundred hungry people who enjoy the hospitality the church offers during their “Community Dinner”. Dignity, Love and Respect are on the menu here. It is not a “soup kitchen”. It is not a “food giveaway”. It is a community dinner. Free to all who enter. It is a hot meal personally served at the table to every person that walks in the door. It is fellowship and friendly conversation with anyone who desires it. It is a gift of a week’s supply of bread to those who ask. It is an hour’s worth of entertainment by a talented folk singer. It is an evening of dignity displayed toward any person that enters. No questions asked except one: “Can we serve you?”
The contrast between Sunday and Wednesday is striking. On Sunday, fifteen people humbly bowing their heads and praying to the Father and listening to teaching from God’s Word. On Wednesday, those same people reaching out to scores of needy people with a hot meal and the Love of Jesus. It is a ministry of love that quietly speaks volumes directly into the lives of the neediest people of Toronto. And I think Jesus smiles down on the Bloor-Lansdowne Christian Fellowship.
But that is not all. This small church also owns the house that we have been renovating to use as the home base of our ministry. On Sunday they told us that they have decided to let us stay even longer than originally planned.It will allow us to stay throughout the entire year of 2011. This is a huge answer to prayer! We figured we would have to move out before next summer so the church could use it for other ministry purposes. We thank the Lord for their continued generosity and their service hearts.
So it was with renewed energy that we continued the final phases of the renovation. All the walls have now been drywalled, spackled, sealed and painted. Bathrooms have been finished. Windows have been washed. Our task this week was to install flooring. As of today, Friday, two of the four rooms are now completed with laminate wood flooring and we can begin moving in bedroom furniture. We had help from our son Tim, visiting from New York; Markus Gommel, a Liebenzell missionary to Bangladeshi residents of Toronto; and Marcel and Andreas, two of our volunteers from Germany. All pitched in and did a great job outfitting and detailing the house. They brought in a refrigerator and oven, and a washer and dryer. Yesterday we fired up the water heater. This evening we had our first meal in the house, albeit on borrowed plates and a workbench for a dining room table.
So Saturday is a day of rest. And Sunday will be a day for worship. We are not exactly sure with whom we will be worshiping, but the true worship demonstrated by the Bloor-Lansdowne Christian Fellowship will not be far from our thoughts.
James 1:27: “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
Posted by Gregg Hanchett