Finding God on Gannon’s campus

Gannon University had one of its most important single-day events on the calendar over the weekend – GIVE Day.

It’s a time when the Gannon community comes together to travel throughout the greater Erie community and clean up.

Service to the community and the many projects that come with the event hold great value in life’s big picture.

I suppose on the surface the work that was performed on Saturday may not have ended the financial crisis, it may not have ended the wars throughout the world and it may not have filled the stomachs of the hungry.

So, why do we do it?

Think for a moment about what place you served at for several hours.

Did you ever think that Saturday was an answer to a prayer for someone?

The financial crisis that we are experiencing in many places restricts the amount of money that can be spent elsewhere.

How does that tie in to Gannon?

Sunday’s reading from the Philippians sends the message that Christ will be magnified in our body.

When we look at the duty of the human race, it is to care for the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, visit the imprisoned and be a peacemaker.

On Saturday morning, an auditorium full of people let Christ become magnified in them.

Despite the urge to sleep in, go eat with friends or study, we gathered in the gym and prepared to bring joy to the world.

Service to our community is what the Lord was asking of Paul Sunday, and he asks us to do the same thing.

The reading written 2,000 years ago rings to our ears today and is just as important.

When the people that we helped saw us pulling up and getting out of the car it was an answer to a prayer.

Many of the projects we completed were ones that could never have been paid for out of a person’s pocket.

We were, at that moment, Christ magnified.  Christ answers prayer through people and circumstances and GIVE Day was such an occasion.

The thanks we received were heartfelt and acted as though Christ was speaking to us.  Through those we helped, Jesus said, “Thank you for caring enough to spend time with me.”

The way we conducted ourselves is like that of the reading’s instruction: “Only conduct yourself in a way worthy of the Gospel of Christ.”

Now the challenge is to be Christ magnified all year long.  Service and volunteer work is certainly a form of this call.  It can even be service to other troubled students in need of a compassionate ear.

I think of the person who has no idea of how to resolve a problem and seeks counsel.

What we do to “conduct ourselves in a way worthy of the Gospel” has a long, world-changing impact.

No, we didn’t end world hunger nor is there peace throughout the world, and there will always be poor people in the world.

What we did was change ourselves.  We took up the challenge and responded to the call to serve.  We saw a need and filled it.

Being an example of love and helping people we don’t know is a wonderful exchange.

We gave our time and talent, and we received love.

The thanks from the people of Erie and the individuals we served is love.  God also thanked us in the faces that smiled as we worked and in the offering of food and water.

We became Christ magnified to others.

We may never know the prayers that we answer by being a loving person, and that isn’t the important part.

What is important is that we continue to be people of service and love to all we meet, all year.

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