This Saturday the men and women of epikos church | West Allis are being encouraged to partner with neighbors and friends in cleaning up our city by participating in the “2016 Spring City Wide Clean Up”. This is a simple and practical way that we as The Church can give of ourselves, bless others and positively influence the community we call home.
Even before the launch of the West Allis location in June of 2012, one of our core convictions has been to get outside the walls of the church building and lovingly engage with our community. This conviction has compelled us to serve the city in a variety of ways, both big and small. To serve our community is to love our neighbor and that is why we will pick up trash this Saturday!
In giving the greatest commandment, Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39 ESV)
There is a ‘vertical’ call to service and a ‘horizontal’ call to service in the Great Commandment. First, in our ‘vertical’ relationship with God, we are called to serve him by loving Him with everything in us and everything at our disposal. This is worship.
Secondly, in our ‘horizontal’ relationship with our neighbors, we are called to serve those around us by loving them as ourselves. This is an outflow of our ‘vertical’ relationship with God. It is also an act of worship and a way to reflect Jesus to the world around us. Serving the city and picking up trash is an expression of loving our neighbor.
Picking up garbage is also a practical way to model Christ to our neighbors. As I think about my relationship with God and reflect on all the ‘trash’ he has cleaned up in my life, I am reminded of what the Apostle John wrote in 1 John 1:7 ESV, “…the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” As streets and neighborhoods go from dirty to clean, in a way, this is a metaphor for the work that God does in the lives of those who trust Him.
As men and women who have been cleansed from all sin by the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are invited to reflect the hope of the gospel to the world around us in practical ways. By picking up the trash along a roadway or in a park we are able to model what Jesus has done in us and what he can do in others.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:8 ESV