Lately, I’ve noticed that I have been struggling to incorporate my faith into my daily life and have the desire to change that. I want to pray, worship, thank, build closer relationships, reflect and draw strength upon God every day of the week—not just Sunday. With that in mind, I have made some recent decisions to reflect those goals: I am participating in a Bible study this summer, I am trying out new churches, and have decided (despite not identifying as a Catholic) to actively practice Catholic Social Teaching by caring for the whole person.
Besides serving, one of the most important reasons that each of the four Micah fellows came to West Oakland this summer is to grow in their faith, love, service and community. Each day, we work hard to provide the basic needs for thousands of people in the Bay Area that need it the most—we are attempting to provide justice for the many who have been treated unfairly at GAAP, we are literally feeding and providing sustenance to the hungry with CitySlicker Farms, ensuring a strong childhood through education and a strong family structure at the Prescott Joseph Center, and caring for the whole person—whether it is providing food, shelter, advice, a listening ear, or simply dignity and respect at St. Anthony Foundation. While we are all doing it in different ways, we are surely working towards our goal of constantly bettering the outlook of the world and improving our relationship with God.
During the senior lunch service at St. Anthony’s, I regularly see an African American gentleman who is probably in his lower sixties. He wears the same furry, winter hat with ear flaps every day and reads his Bible before being served. Although he knows that it is not allowed, he always requests two trays—one vegetarian for him to eat and one with meat to take home to his friend who cannot come to our lunch services. I have never seen him talk to anyone except to ask for a vegetarian tray for lunch, but yesterday on his way out the door, he stopped to talk to me. As he was passing by, I casually said, “Have a good day! We’ll see you tomorrow!” And he turned to me and replied, “I am so thankful for St. Anthony’s and to be in a place surrounded by people who pray together.” I told him that while the staff may not pray verbally together, we do have the opportunity to worship in our actions—each day of service is a prayer and an offering. As he was turning to walk out the door, the gentleman responded that he recognizes that we feed the physical necessities of our guests, but also their spiritual and emotional needs.
This interaction touched me and helped me in my journey of spiritual deepening. I was also reminded of an article that I stumbled across earlier this week from a Southern California Church. The article, titled “10 Ways to Worship Without Music: Worship isn’t just part of your life—it’s everything you do!” spoke about how everyone worships God in a multitude of ways. Here are ten ideas that can bring us closer to Him:
- Read the Bible regularly
- Obey God
- Serve others
- Deepen relationships with other Christians
- Share your faith with others
- Lead your life with an attitude of thankfulness
- Turn every area of your life over to God
- Live life with a purpose
Just like we all worship differently, we also view God differently—how do you view your god? Where do you find this strength? When do you most often feel this sense of peace? Can you become more reflective, thankful and selfless? If so, what are some actions that you are willing to take? Take this time to reflect upon your day silently, in a journal, via music or in a conversation…what you are thankful for, any moments from today that stand out, an area in your life that you want to improve, or anything that you need help with.