More than sweet treats & baskets
Through the decades, The Salvation Army has utilized baskets to stock necessities for needy families at Christmas, the ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal, or life-sustaining provisions for the hungry and desperate.
At Easter, we delight in giving disadvantaged children fun-filled baskets laden with pastel-coated eggs, sugar-coated jelly beans, delicious chocolates, and fluffy stuffed bunnies.
But beyond the gifts and goodies on Easter morning, we boldly and gratefully celebrate Christ’s unfailing, overwhelming, and radical love for ALL of humanity. Easter is a reminder that our ministry is motivated by the love of God, and our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
Frequently, Jesus intentionally demonstrated His care and concern to those who had fallen to a desperate and hopeless existence of being despised, overlooked, and disregarded. Like the disdained Samaritan woman, the loathed tax collector, and the banished leper. He saw their mistakes and weaknesses yet lovingly gazed upon His fallen creation with compassion and forgiveness. He welcomed the ostracized and the feared into His holy, benevolent presence and invited them to experience a love beyond human comprehension—a life-altering encounter with the Holy diety, yet a father, bestowing unconditional, limitless love on the undeserving.
Jesus saw them.
In the Temple on that day, Jesus exposed unrighteous exclusion. His holy place of worship, acceptance, and relationship had morphed into “a hideout for crooks.” Only the select were welcomed, while many more were turned away and judged unworthy for being foreigners (different), in transit (homeless), and poor (poverty-stricken).
Because of what happened during that first Easter Week, and because Jesus’ life and death modeled authentic and practical servanthood to help those in need, we are compelled to serve anyone and everyone who needs our help. God’s inclusive grace beckons us to examine our hearts and challenges us to open our hearts and minds, #lovebeyond, and worship the One whose eternal love sees us all and declares: “It is very good!”