Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Souperbowl of Caring



There is a football game taking place this weekend. I guess you know that already! What you may not be as aware of is that over the last 25 years a major charitable event, known as the 'Souperbowl of Caring' has also evolved.

Back in 1990, a Presbyterian youth leader, Brad Smith finished his youth meeting with a prayer that asked God to make them mindful of those who didn't even have a bowl of soup to eat, whilst the rest of the nation gathered to watch the game on TV. Since 1990, this fund raising drive, has spread from church to church, and community to community, and has raised more than $100 million for people in need. Youth groups raise the money locally, decide what local charity it will be used for, and then report their totals to the national campaign.

Last Sunday in our service we were thinking about the call of Jesus to be His disciples. Our sermon 'Fishy Followers' can be found here. One of the things we touched on was the way Jesus used the skills the disciples had already acquired in the service of God's Kingdom. God takes us as we are and uses what we have for God's purposes... just as long as we agree to follow!

This week, as we gather around the communion table, we'll be taking a sports theme with a sermon tiled 'Play Makers' that reflects on a passage in Mark 1:21-28, in which Jesus becomes involved in a confrontation with the synagogue authorities following an encounter with a disturbed congregant. Not the usual kind of thing that happens during morning worship!

Confronting evil or injustice is never an easy thing to do. It rattles people. Whenever people speak about helping the poor, there is always somebody who suggests that it's their fault they are that way. If they took more care of themselves they would be fine. Whenever the specter of unemployment is raised there is always somebody who suggests that people should just move. Whenever health care reforms are mentioned there are always those quick to complain that they don't see why they should have to pay for another persons misfortunes.

Such perspectives fail to take into account of the reality of poverty. I have yet to meet anybody who chose to become so impoverished that they now struggle to feed their children. When an area loses it's financial base you can't just up and move town because you are too heavily invested in where you are.  If folk don't get adequate health care it ends up costing everybody more money. Prevention usually turns out to be the cheaper option!

But it's not about economics... it is about caring. When people are in a bad way... be it through their own actions  or because they are victims of circumstances beyond their control... the call of Jesus remains the same. Show them some love. Help them.  That's what the 'Souperbowl of Caring' is all about. Extending God's love to those most in need! I hope you can be there this Sunday to support our youth in their fund raising effort.

We'll also be singing a crazy country song titled 'Drop Kick Me Jesus through the goalposts of life'. Apparently it is one of Bill Clinton's favorites. In some previous churches I served it became something of an annual tradition to sing it on Souperbowl Sunday. We even had folk who would come just for that reason. No problem! If it helps feed a hungry family, then bring it on!

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