The Faces of Family of God

By Linda Waara, Family of God volunteer

In a Detroit neighborhood, where life is hard and mean, sits Family of God Lutheran Church, facing down Satan’s assaults upon the lives of her congregants. Family of God is a beckoning light amidst the depressing bleakness…a place to encounter God, His love, His mercy, His Salvation.  

On a daily basis, hot meals are served and God’s Word is taught to ‘sin-tattered’ folks.
Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, my suburban Detroit, middle class congregation, prepares and serves meals a few times a month at Family of God. Serving in the ‘food-line’, I observe (even study, to understand) the faces of the individuals as they pass by. I offer each a welcoming word, hoping they find sincere warmth and friendliness in it; but it seems such a meager offering to their needs.

"Family of God is a beckoning light amidst the depressing bleakness…a place to encounter God, His love, His mercy, His Salvation. " 

There are a multitude of faces, each with a story of it’s own. There are many dirty and unshaven faces; thin and starved-looking faces; bruised faces that have been beaten; tattooed and make-up laden faces; children’s shy, innocent, inquiring faces; parents and others with grateful faces and words; tired faces; aged faces, which aren’t that old in years; world-weary faces with flat, haunted expressions that have seen too much trouble and heartache; sick faces that appear a little worse each month. There are faces that are gone, faces that we miss. There are also the faces that smile, laugh, flirt and joke around with us. I wonder if some are putting on a brave face for us?

"There are a multitude of faces, each with a story of it’s own."

Family of God deeply impresses me with a variety of thoughts and emotions when I am there. Face-to-face with life’s underbelly, my heart will often moan: “Why does the world have to be so awful, so miserable?” “Sin, of course”, is my answer to myself.

This close encounter with human hardship and suffering motivates me to act, to participate in God’s will to love and serve others. There is unexpected joy in giving of yourself to others and putting your spiritual gifts to use. I have found an inner satisfaction in the realization that “doing good is its own reward”. Or, in other words, it is the “face of the Lord shining upon me, being gracious unto me, and giving me His peace”.

"There is unexpected joy in giving of yourself to others and putting your spiritual gifts to use."

May the Lord lift up His countenance upon those at Family of God!

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