Given the events of yesterday with the road traffic collision that saw a school bus full of children hit the church building, I want first to thank God that the situation was not as bad as it could have been, and secondly, give a huge thank you to the daycare and administrative staff of Roberts Park and to Pastor Scott for the hospitality, care, and compassion they offered to the everyone involved in the incident. As a church, we opened our doors to welcome in the children and staff. We were able to provide ice-packs, etc. for those who needed it and some initial care. We made a safe space available for the first responders to assess casualties and for those who did not require treatment a place to sit and know they were going to be okay, that the ordeal was now over, and they would soon be with their family. I am very proud of the fact that everyone remained calm and reassuring to the children and adults on the bus. All the staff, those directly involved in the incident and those who continued the day to day work of the daycare showed the community the love and care that the Church can offer.
As I reflect on the incident, I have the words of the chorus of the well know Christian song, ‘We are One in the Spirit,’ running through my head, “and they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love. Yes, I know that many who would not profess the Christian faith would have stepped in to help in such circumstances. Indeed a group of people on a break outside their workplace on Vermont Street, shocked by what they saw, ran to offer assistance in getting the doors of the bus open and help the children off, yet sadly that is not always the case. As the parable of the good Samaritan reveals, some pass by on the other side. What I have in mind though is summed up in the words of the Roberts Park mission statement, “serving with compassion.” Furthermore that the compassion is based on the inspiration and teaching of Jesus. Paul, who is with Timothy, writes to the church in Philippi, “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”
I guess what I am pointing towards is the motivation by which we are called to act. As Christians, we are invited to share in the mission of the Church by seeking to be Christlike in all our encounters in life and not just those where we may feel our ‘natural’ inclination is to do something. I know that in the day to day work of Roberts Park the staff do act with compassion towards those who come to our doors looking for help. I do know they act with care towards the children we look after in the daycare, and I know that we seek to offer hospitality to visitors each and every day. Perhaps its because it comes naturally to us in those circumstances that when called to act in extraordinary circumstances ‘it’s just what we do’ because we want others to know we are Christians.
I invite you to hold all the individuals and their families hurt in the crash in your prayers as well as those others on the bus who were fortunate enough not to be severely injured. I would ask for your prayers of gratitude to the emergency services for their prompt response and professional care. May we all act in ways that show we are Christians by our love.
Shalom to you my friend,