The Opportunities of Winter

It's winter in Oregon and Idaho! For some of us that means snow sports and snowball fights and an occasional day off from work or school. For some it means extra work, dangerous driving and walking, and more time to do everything beyond our front doors. And for some it reminds them why they leave here in the winter and go somewhere warmer.
In several parts of our conference, worship services were cancelled last Sunday. If you go to one of those churches, what did you do with the extra time you weren't spending in church? What was your "church service" this week, on Sunday morning or any other time?
Winter brings with it opportunities for service, some of which are unique to the season. Neighbors who are elderly or have special needs may need us to check on them, shop for them, or shovel their walks. Neighbors who are homeless may need us to provide warm coats or hot meals or to staff a shelter. And our non-human neighbors need us, too, even though it may be inconvenient to fill the bird feeder or provide a source of non-frozen water.
Sometimes Jesus' call to love our neighbor takes a dramatic form, such as a public demonstration for justice or a trip to a far-off place to build houses. Sometimes the call is to take an extra few minutes to notice a need and fill it. But the call is always there. Part of our job as followers of Jesus is to be aware of those opportunities, big and small, and to make service a part of who we are, not something we occasionally do.
Hopefully, next Sunday will find us all able to gather for worship again. We love and need our church communities, and it is important for us to gather regularly. But sometimes we also need a reminder that being the church is something more than Sunday morning. It is something that happens every day in every place.

Photo "Deep Freeze" by Dan the Hut © used via ficker.com CC License

Jan Nelson
Jan Nelson is the Lay Leader of the Oregon-Idaho Conference. She was a delegate to the 2016 and 2019 General Conferences and 2016 Western Jurisdictional Conference. Jan is on the Ministry Leadership Team, Jurisdictional and Conference Committees on Episcopacy, and the Holy Land Task Force. She is also Chapter president of the Oregon-Idaho Methodist Federation for Social Action. She lives in Salem, Oregon.