For centuries Christians around the world have observed Lent in preparation for Easter as a way of drawing near and reflecting on Jesus’ death and resurrection and preparing themselves for baptism. This year we want to suggest adding a Lenten observance that’s a little more public. One where instead of – or in addition to – giving something up, you give something back.
This week we’ve all been plunged into sadness and confusion over another school shooting. Even though the tragedy may not have happened in our own neighborhood or involve anyone we know, the hurt is still real. And it may not go away anytime soon.
So, what are the best ways we can work through our pain during times like this? We consulted some sources online to see what they had to say.
Yesterday, Salvation Army church-members, staff, volunteers and supporters around the world stopped to offer focused prayer for The Salvation Army’s ministry to trafficked people and to call on God to uplift the victims and change the hearts of those who gain financially from this modern-day slavery. But some did more than that.
Nursing students at Azuza Pacific University in Southern California did something week that brought a tear to my eye when I read about it. Since our goal is to bring you stories that inspire you to use your life to love God’s people, I thought you might want to read it too.
For months the news has been reporting the heartbreaking story of migrants arriving in Europe from the Middle East and Africa, fleeing atrocities for an opportunity for something, anything, better. For those who arrive safely across the Meditteranean – 2,000 or more drowned in transit this year – the welcome is not always warm. Countries across Europe are struggling to assimilate the newcomers in what The Guardian calls the “world’s biggest refugee crisis since the second world war.” None more than the country of Greece, already strained by staggering debt and loss.
Have you ever wondered where a homeless job searcher would keep their pet while looking for work? Showing up for an interview with a dog on a leash or a birdcage in hand probably doesn’t make a good first-impression. And for those who live in their car, leaving a pet inside is a major no no in many climates. On an even more serious note, can you imagine leaving your beloved family dog with an abusive spouse so you could flee to safety?
On May 15, recently-retired Salvation Army Major Martin Cooper got on his bike. He’s riding 3,000 miles across the United States to raise awareness about the problem of hunger in this country and raise money all along his route. For 30 years, he and his wife have fed hungry families, sheltered homeless people, and walked alongside those who are battling addictions. But Major Cooper knows as well as anybody that there’s still so much more to do.
Salvation Army Captain Jennifer Cortez doesn’t have a building but she has a flock of 800 souls she’s served through The Salvation Army’s Mobile Ministry. Her schedule is packed and she works hard but says that the ministry’s following is not because of anything she’s done.
“It’s not because I am good, it’s because Jesus is doing His work through the Holy Spirit. People notice that,” said Captain Cortez.