It Starts With
a Sandwich

By David Kirk McCleary, Outreach Pastor.
Snack Program volunteers meet in the Atrium
at St. Paul's on Thursdays at 5:15 p.m.

Posted on October 1, 2014

On the surface our After School Snack Program doesn't seem like much as far as ministries go at St. Paul’s. It isn't one of those super exciting ministries that gets a lot of press or recognition. What do we do? Well, we make sandwiches and offer children at a local school healthy snacks every Thursday, in partnership with Toronto City Mission.

But don’t be fooled by this humble Outreach. The small things we do now, can have very big consequences indeed.

As Christians we are called to do the unusual and the counter-intuitive. We are called to turn the entire system on its head and live out the truth of our faith in the love we have for God, for each other, and for ourselves.

In our world the people who get noticed, who are loved and valued, are the people who do big things. They climb mountains, they can throw or catch or leap or do something else extraordinary. The real genius of the Gospel of Christ is that it calls us out of the ordinary and into something new, into something more, something far different than anything we could ever have hoped for or imagined. It is not like anything we are naturally accustomed to.

Matthew 25:40 says this: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

It is the small things done with great love that matter to Jesus.

In the Snack Program we make healthy snacks and sandwiches for little children. We share food with them while we sit and chat about their day or anything else that is on their minds. We sit with these precious little people from a community in need of extra help, support and prayer. It is a community just minutes away from our church, less than three city blocks and yet it is a place most of us have only heard of, and certainly never visited.

This is where we go every Thursday, into the neighbourhood to meet our neighbours and help them care for their children by hanging out with them, laughing and talking with them.

Admittedly, it is a small thing. But in this small act of love, in this small act of compassion, kindness, in exercising God's love we show these kids and their families and the community a number of things. We affirm every one of those kids is special. We honour the image of God in someone else and in so doing counter the insidious and destructive message of conditional love so rampant everywhere in our world. We affirm the inherent value of these little people. We broadcast to them, their community, the world, to anyone who has eyes to see, that through God's love for us we love and value these people and their community.

Through this small human act we connect to a much larger story that has been unfolding since God sent His only Son to be born in a stable and eventually die on a cross and rise again to prove the truth of His love for us. It is an extraordinary story that continues to unfold and deepen in this small act of making and sharing a healthy snack with a child one day a week. It is a small thing done with great love and it helps us live out the absolute essential truth of God's love for us and the world.

There is something wonderful about being invited into the lives of these young people. There is something even more special about being called into something greater than ourselves that continues to echo on through time. And it all starts with a simple sandwich.