by Justin Moline
Before we all said farewell to summer, Church of the Cross hosted a movie night at the park. Although rain cancelled our first attempt, it did not dampen our spirits and we tried again on September 3rd. For several hours Valley Park of Hopkins became a movie theater, a face painting station, and a food frenzy of hot dogs and donut holes. Behind all of this was the engagement of our Church and the community we worship in. Children enjoying the park joined us to play games, parents of the children and of the area sat down with us to eat, and a buzz stirred throughout the park. Although there was much planning and details to attend too, the event was a reminder of the simplicity of loving your neighbor by being present to a stranger and welcoming the children to Christ through the public presence of his Church.
I personally remember telling a family goodbye and thanking them for joining us. I told the mother of several children, “I hope that the games they enjoyed will ensure a peaceful night of deep sleep.” The mother smiled at the thought of rest and rushed over to give me a hug. It felt more like a bear hug. I was shocked at the response, yet delighted to see her joy. Maybe our event gave that mother a full night of rest, and maybe our event will lead to her finding true rest in Christ.
When the movie finished and all things were packed up, the park remain unchanged. And although the event ended and people returned to their homes, I sensed the beginning of momentum. The momentum of our Church breaking through the reality of the kingdom of God into our community. The reality of true love given freely, where Jesus is Lord, and light conquers darkness. May God continue his work in us and through us at Church of the Cross.