A few minutes ago I sat down to talk with a young mom about how we would make sure children and their parents get a good dinner here at church.  She’s just signed up to become the first Family Promise Meal Coordinator for Plymouth Church here in Des Moines, Iowa.  In a few minutes I’m going to help a couple eager/anxious moms lay out a plan to coordinate the first round of training and hospitality for Plymouth’s new volunteer hosts.  We have a small grant to help put paint on the walls of some underused classrooms and some big dreams about how this congregation will grow in love of God and neighbor in the months to come.
It’s been a little more than a year since Ben and Lucy and I heeded the call to serve God here in Des Moines.  Dana and I check in periodically so that I can be sure she’s taking good care of my ‘baby.’  And sure enough, it sounds like our FP family is thriving in Lawrence.  I’ve been so proud to watch (via pictures on Facebook) as the third floor renovation took place, as transitional housing units became a reality, and as the community that is Family Promise of Lawrence grows and deepens.   I’m proud of you all and I miss you.
That’s one of the reasons I’m working to share the remarkable spirit of hospitality you’ve all taught me here in our new home.  Plymouth Church in Des Moines is a lot like many of our network’s congregations.  We’re good at doing good.   What’s more difficult for us is really showing up, just as we are, in fellowship with people in crisis.  It’s harder to be a friend to a mother who’s living through homelessness than it is to serve her children dinner.  And yet, that is precisely what I believe God calls us to become through the ministry of hospitality.
Practicing hospitality with a generous heart, as we practice it through Family Promise, teaches us to befriend one another.   We become the friends who listen to one another’s laments without judgment.  We become the friends whose laughter makes long, hard roads easier to walk.  And we become the friends who imagine more for one another than we can imagine for ourselves.   My new congregation will begin practicing this remarkable spiritual discipline in January.   You and I know what they’re in for.  I couldn’t be more excited to see God’s hand at work.
Blessings to you all and please, keep us in your prayers.