As I was going about the business of organizing the week this past Monday, I got a phone call. When I picked up, the man on the other end of the line identified himself as one of the Wardens from Church of the Good Shepherd in Kips Bay—one of our “neighbor churches” directly across town on 31st St. between Second and Third Avenues. He told me that they were not a large congregation, but that they had always had at least one mission project to which they were committed.
He described some of the projects they had embraced. It was obvious that his was a worshipping community that valued reaching out, and he went on to say how sad parishioners were that the pandemic had forced them to cease doing so. But then he said he remembered Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen. He knew we had been able to continue our operations, so at the most recent Vestry meeting he proposed that Good Shepherd take up an ongoing collection in support of our work. He was calling me to ask how best to donate the funds received each month.
As I thanked him, he said, “You’re our mission now!” And I marveled at the sense of connectedness he expressed in that short sentence. Because, of course, in some ways we are always one another’s mission. Not that we are meant to be “fixing” others or relating to them in hierarchical relationships meant to control, but more in the sense of St. Paul’s image of the Body of Christ: what is healthy and supportive for one part of the Body is healthy and supportive for all. Both individually and in groups of all sorts we are bound together by the Holy Spirit. Reaching out from that truth eases the way for others and draws us deeper toward the heart of God.