While delivering Blessings in a Bag, which are lunch sacks filled with food, to a throng of homeless folks in downtown San Diego, I turned the corner with eight bags to see at least 16 people sitting along the sidewalk. Feeling the need to proceed, I apologized for not having enough for all and asked them to please share. One man quickly exclaimed, “Wow! It’s food!” They passed around the bags so each could have something to enjoy. Another homeless women said, “This is a wonderful thing you are doing and we do appreciate it.”
As I walked back to my car feeling like I had done something worthwhile but needed to do more, a lovely, well-dressed woman approached me and handed me $10 saying, “Whatever you’re doing, I would like to contribute to it.” I told her that would feed 10 additional people the next time because of her donation. She gave me a big smile and said, “Thank you for letting me help, too.” I proceeded to tell this story to everyone I connected with that afternoon. They seemed happier just hearing my story.
Paying it forward really does work. I marvel at how simple it is to put a smile on people’s faces and warm their hearts.
I am grateful to my church, All Souls’, Point Loma, for the outreach programs large and small in which we can participate. They make me a better person. +
Feeling trapped is scary. As the Psalmist’s words remind us, however, God comes to those who are stuck. This was the case in the Old Testament with exiled Israel—caught in a geopolitical and geographical conundrum, with its oppressors on one side and the daunting Red Sea on the other. Nowhere to go but “up,” so […]
Brian Petersen grew up in San Diego County and was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. He served in the Marine Corps and later became involved in youth ministry and music ministry while attending Azusa Pacific University. After graduating from APU, Brian moved to the Pacific Northwest and attended seminary at Golden […]
Peter arrived from the Diocese of Iowa after retiring in January 2016. Following graduation from Nashotah House seminary in 1984, he served parishes in Davenport, Trinity Cathedral; Durant, Iowa; and Clinton, Iowa as well as ELCA Lutheran congregations in Princeton Iowa, and several interim settings in the “Quad-Cities” Iowa/Illinois region with the ELCA. Having been […]