February is compassion month in the North Central Conference. You may only express compassion during February – JUST KIDDING! Passion, which today may connote a strong feeling, originally meant suffering, as in the “Passion of Christ.” The Latin “com” meant “together” or “attached to.” To have compassion in its classic sense meant to suffer with, to experience the pain or sorrow of another, and to suffer with them. Do we have this kind of compassion today?
During “Compassion Month” in the North Central Conference, we are encouraged to consider the weak and suffering in our midst, and reflect upon how we may express the love of Jesus. In expressing such love, true compassion will not merely allow awareness to break through our daily routines, but will lead to sacrificial action and alignment of our purposes with those of our Lord. Our love will extend beyond just self and family and friends and toward even our “enemies” (Matthew 5:44, Romans 12:21).
Most NCC churches (over 65%) are actively engaged in true compassion, sacrificing time and resources to bring counsel to the confused, food to the hungry, medicine to the sick, binding the wounds of the brokenhearted. Keep up to speed by tracking the NCC Facebook page (fb/nccfmc). See what others are doing, and find ways to engage.
Explore the work, support through prayer, finance and volunteer action with two significant NCC social service agencies. The Olive Branch Mission is Chicago’s largest private provider of ministry to the homeless, used as a vessel of the Holy Spirit to set the addicted free and restore broken lives, feeding thousands each month. Hearthstone Communities in Northern Illinois is McHenry’s County’s only provider of continuous care for the elderly. On the cutting edge of memory care, and providing low cost, enriching day care for children, Hearthstone is a leader in the industry, yet continues to take financial losses each year by supporting “charity” cases.
Consider how you might express compassionate care for the needy around you. Consider looking up Olive Branch Mission (www.obmission.org) and Hearthstone (www.wclsil.org) and discovering how you can pray for, volunteer and give to demonstrate Christ’s compassion among the weak and suffering.