Serve the City Recap & Photos
Photos, Serve the City | by
Pastor Justin Keogh
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends… You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” (John 15:12-13, 16-17).
Earlier this month, on Saturday June 2nd, over 175 of Downtown Cornerstone’s members, friends, and families came together to serve the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) at Bailey Gatzert Elementary and Washington Middle School for our 6th annual Serve the City event. Over the last few years, we’ve become the largest volunteer group that serves SPS and as such we had the opportunity to bless not one but two schools with our efforts.
At Bailey Gatzert Elementary we weeded and mulched the entire building perimeter, washed the walls throughout the building, cleared and organized supply closets, painted playgrounds and a mural. At Washington Middle School, we hung birdhouses, painted playground lines, cleaned up multiple courtyard and garden spaces, making them more inviting and safer for students, with the added benefit of clearing out the space in preparation for 8th grade graduation just last week!
Serving as we do through this event (and many others) is part of how we envision building a great city, as we seek to be salt (preserving) and light (guiding) in Seattle (Matt 5:13-16). The staff at each school, as well as the volunteer coordinators, have all expressed tremendous gratitude for our efforts – a small sampling of comments includes these sentiments:
- Thank you Downtown Cornerstone Church – to bring these wonderful projects! It truly is a blessing. I am overwhelmed with you generosity to purchase tools for our tool library, which has continued to serve multiple schools this summer. – Gretchen, Volunteer Director
- Please extend our thanks to your church who worked with dedication in making our school campus more beautiful, less cluttered and ultimately more functional for safe and dynamic learning. – Laurie, School Principal
- Your partnership was invaluable and all the volunteers who were able to help make such a great impact on both schools is inspiring, to say the least. – Sean, Volunteer Coordinator
We know that our service, while grand on some scales, is ultimately a reflection of a much greater demonstration of love and care from Jesus, who willingly came to serve, not to be served (though he had every right to be served as God incarnate). Rather, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and instructed us to do the same (John 13:1-20). So we celebrated the opportunity to be a blessing to SPS this year, as in years past, displaying in some small measure the gifts and glory that have been bestowed upon us in Christ. We know that it is not our works that make us righteous, but God’s gift of righteousness that frees us to serve our neighbors, for God’s glory.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne … Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matt 26:31, 34-40)
Jesus teaches us that our love is not seen only in massive acts of sacrifice, but rather simple, humane, faithful acts of love and service “to the least of these” around us. Let us continue to serve out of thanksgiving, knowing how much we have been served in Christ, and be salt and light to our neighborhoods – to the children in schools, or in foster care, or in juvenile detention; to the refugee; to women seeking to escape the sex trade; to expectant mothers unsure if they can carry a child to birth; or to the homeless men, women, and families throughout our city.
Be on the lookout for ongoing opportunities to serve with your community and DCC in any of these focus areas through our regular Mercy updates and focus groups on the city.