Helping Lancaster Tornado Victims

April 5, 2012

Volunteer Registration will be held today, Thursday April 5 until 7:00 p.m. (1600 Veterans Memorial Parkway). Donations can be dropped off at 200 E. Wintergreen Road. (Lancaster High School) Donated items needed include non-perishable food items, toiletries, diapers and baby food.

Maundy Thursday Change of Plans

April 4, 2012

Our Maundy Thursday Prayer Labyrinth for this week is canceled. Pastor Joel will host a service at 7:00PM Thursday.

Please read below to see how you can still participate in Maundy Thursday.

Tornado Picture

I was in Keller yesterday as I watched the local news teams report on tornadoes that were swirling near my home. After the storms had passed and the damage was being shown, I recognized many of the places that had sustained significant damage just a few blocks from my house. But as I was driving home yesterday evening I saw much of the damage in person. A neighborhood I drive by on a daily basis was covered in blue tarps. The apartment complex I saw on TV was the one I thought it was, one that I’ve driven by hundreds of times.

I was compelled to help in any way I could, and thought that on a normal week that I would be available to lend a helping hand most of the day on Wednesday. But I had planned on spending most of today getting ready for Maundy Thursday and wouldn’t be available to help.

And then two scriptures kept running through my head from the passage where Jesus washes his disciples feet, one of the cornerstone texts for Maundy Thursday:

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
~ John 13:13-15

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
~ John 13:34-35

How ironic that this annual event where we commemorate Jesus showing us how to love one another was keeping me from loving my neighbors who have gone through this difficult time. In fact, the word Maundy is derived from the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment,” referring to the commands Jesus gave his disciples at the Last Supper: to love with humility by serving one another and to remember his sacrifice.

That’s when I realized that the best way to commemorate Maundy Thursday this year, and this particular time in our community, was to allow the time and space to actually love and serve our neighbors. For that reason, we are canceling our Maundy Thursday service and prayer labyrinth.

I hope you will consider serving your neighbors during this Holy Week. There is much help needed in my neck of the woods in Arlington and Kennedale, but Lancaster has many needs as well. Here are some ideas:

  • Contact the local shelters that have been set up to see if they need volunteers, food, or supplies
  • Grab a chain saw and head towards the damage zones (note: certain areas have restricted access this morning)
  • Get online and find a group organizing volunteers (I found a church near me organizing a group today)
  • Make a bunch of sandwhiches and take them to the damage areas and pass them out to people working to clear debris
  • Pray for those affected
  • Go to the Volunteer Center of North Texas website and register as a disaster volunteer
  • Call the city of Lancaster at about donations at 972-218-2631

I hope you will consider how you can intentionally follow the example that Jesus has set for us on this Maundy Thursday. In so doing, we are truly participating in Maundy Thursday, whether we have a worship service or not.

~ Matt Cleaver