DAY 15: Serving Others
Servant Events Change Lives
Isaiah 58:1-12 [13-14]
… you serve your own interest on your fast day… Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
A few summers ago, a group of youth from our church attended a Servant Event week in Key West, Florida. We stayed in a church in the poorer section of Key West with outside cold-water showers and we didn't have very big helpings of food to eat at meal times. There was no TV or Internet access.
This week was a sort of fast that led to a reformation or change in our lives. It helped us see a lot of things. It helped us turn our attention away from ourselves. We realized that faith for some of us had become more of an individual thing with God and wasn't something we shared with others, except maybe to try to get others to notice we had faith.
In Key West, we realized that we were a part of a community and that faith was more than a personal thing between God and me. It's also about others and being open to what they need. Our actions have an affect on others and they can make a difference.
One day we went to an older adult day care center. We played games, sang songs, and played the piano. It wasn't about showing off musical talents or pleasing our selves but about sharing our gifts and giving the residents joy. On another day, we went to a food pantry to do cleaning. We also moved furniture and did painting for an AIDS service agency. Throughout the week, we experienced the self-centeredness that we all carry with us to some degree, and yet it was the beginning of a change for most of us in how we lived our faith.
How do my views of "fasting" or "outward acts of being religious" compare with what pleases God?
Ever present God, help me see that fasting is more than living without something temporarily and that it can bring about change in my life--a reformation. Amen
- What fast from food (like a meal out) or entertainment (like a night at the movies) can you do during Lent so that you can make a donation of money to support God's work through the Youth Challenge²for the ELCA World Hunger Appeal?
- Plan a Servant Event with your congregation or youth group. Go to the ELCA Web site, Journeys For Youth, for ideas about what to do and where to go.
contributed by Ruth Waterfield and Sharon Rogers