Project Pay It Forward
During the month of July, the Outreach Committee is sponsoring Project Pay It Forward. The idea was born out of discussion that asked, “How can the parish stay in touch with Outreach during the summer months?” Instead of having an organized project, the committee wants to empower you to share the love of Jesus in organic and spontaneous ways right where you are. So whether you are at the beach or in the mountains or at camp or at grandma’s house, you can be a part of All Saints’ mission to make the transforming love of Christ known in all the world.
To Pay It Forward means instead of paying somebody back for a gift, you pay the gift forward to somebody else. Hopefully that person is inspired to go and do likewise. While the term Pay It Forward has largely secular roots, the theology behind it speaks to the core of the gospel. After Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan to the lawyer, he said, “Go and do likewise.” The main point of the parable is not simply a moral teaching that says, “Do what the Samaritan did.” The point of the parable demands us first to find our place in the ditch. So when we find our place in the ditch, we know what it is like to be pulled out of the ditch. Jesus is telling all of us who have been pulled out of the ditch to “go and do likewise.” Pay the love of Jesus Forward.
Ultimately, paying the love of Jesus forward is the result of our Christian faith. After his resurrection, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” Peter replies, “Yes, Lord you know that I love you.” Jesus says, “Feed My Sheep.” Jesus tells Peter that the best gift of gratitude is to go out into the world and feed his sheep. As Christians, we are called into the world to share the love that Jesus has shown us to others. We are called to share a love that surpasses human understanding, a love that really doesn’t make a whole lot of a sense, a love that has the power to transform the world.
On Sundays during July, there will be an opportunity to share and reflect on how the love of Jesus has been shared through All Saints’. In the cloister, there will be blank note cards where you can tell the rest of the parish how you shared the love of Jesus in an anonymous way. Maybe you will inspire others to do likewise!
Here are some ideas to get started:
- Randomly pay for the person’s meal behind you in the drive-thru line (you don’t have to tell them who you are).
- Mow the grass of someone who might be having a hard time (don’t do this if you neighbor is funny about their grass…).
- Hold the door open for someone behind you.
- Look up from your smartphone and break the ice with a stranger.
- Greet the person in the elevator.
- Find a point of connection with the family you keep on running into at the beach.
- Invite the odd kid out at camp to play a game with your friends.
- Don’t be afraid to risk making a fool of yourself.
- Donate blood.
- Volunteer time at a soup kitchen or homeless ministry (Community Kitchens, Firehouse Shelter, Family Promise).
- Introduce yourself to a new neighbor and offer to pick them something up from the store (if they decline, get them something anyway).
- Send a care package to someone serving in the Armed Forces.
- Say something nice to everyone you see today.
- I hope you will share other ideas on the All Saints’ Facebook Page.