It was getting dark with a beautiful moon shining over the church at around 7:30 p.m. as 12 of us gathered in the parking lot in preparation to serve. Hamakubo-san and Larry Lee had spent a few hours in the kitchen preparing the hot meal of rice and stew topping. Salad, fruit, bread, cookies, and a warm beverage accented and completed the meal. Peter took charge of loading all the items into our cars.
We caravanned in 3 cars down to the regular site under highway 5 near Yesler and began setting up, making sure there were table cloths on the tables and putting out the food so that we would be ready for the 8:00 serving. Folks that are regularly part of this program and were waiting for a good meal began lining up. Kay Abe, who has been the leader of this meal program – called “The Lord’s Table” – since its inception over 20 years ago was there to give us hints, provide various necessary items, and just generally be an encouragement to our JCC team. We are just one of many churches involved in this food for the homeless program. Some churches participate weekly, some monthly, and some like JCC – once every 2 months. Food is served in this location every night at 8:00 p.m., from Monday through Thursday, every week of the year. It was amazing to consider just how many thousands have been nourished physically and spiritually through this program.
Gene (not seen) begins the line with plates, while Howard and Peter serve the rice and topping.
Folks who have gotten their food find a spot at a bench or table to sit and enjoy the meal.
Although you cannot tell from our photos (we tried to be careful when taking pictures) about 75-80 were served a hot meal on this night.
It was my first time as pastor here at JCC to participate in this ongoing ministry and I was struck by how timely our ministry was that evening – in light of the Bible text and sermon which we had just shared in worship the day before. Our theme had been “serving with love” and it had been composed of 3 main ideas: 1 – serving those close to us, 2 – serving them with sensitivity and dignity, and 3 – believing that our service involved not just our efforts, but the very POWER of God.
As I drove home to Mount Vernon I praised God for the opportunity we had experienced as a JCC team to serve many homeless people right in our town of Seattle, to serve them with love and dignity, and to know that God and his power was working through us. We may not always see or recognize the results of that power, but we trust in it. Let’s continue to share and encourage each other through our stories of “serving in love”. Good job church!