On Sabbath June 7, I was the team lead for a small group of volunteers who participated in the Beyond the Walls “Clean Up Hyattsville” outreach activity. It first appeared that our activity was going to be a wash, because when we got to Huerich Park, our assigned location, we couldn’t find the park ranger. We were supposed to meet her to get our cleaning supplies (gloves, bags, etc.). What to do? We “radioed” back in to “headquarters” (Melissa and Vonric) for support, but while we were waiting on them to track down the ranger, we decided that we would complete this outreach on our own! If we couldn’t find supplies, we would get our own supplies.
Fortunately, we were able to find the ranger. Apparently, the whole time we were looking for her, she’d been sitting under a pavilion not far from where we were parked. We didn't notice her initially because I guess we were looking from someone in "park ranger" clothes. Lol. She was very excited to have us and we were excited to be there. She also gave me her business card and said to reach out to her whenever we want to come back. Apparently she was familiar with our church from working with the church a few years ago.
While we were collecting trash and cleaning up, the Lord impressed this thought upon my heart. When we first arrived at the park we said to each another "This park looks clean" and "It doesn't really need our attention." However, once we got out of the car, grabbed our materials and actually got up close into the grass and woods, we really saw how much trash was around. We filled up our bags with much more than we thought was around, and were collecting until exactly 2:30 p.m. (we started about 1:00 p.m.)
While collecting trash, this thought popped into my head: "Is this how we view our spiritual lives sometimes?" We look at ourselves on the surface, from a distance, and say "I’m fine in this area" or "Things look good." However, when we allow the Lord to come in, get close and inspect our lives, we often see how much "trash" we really have inside of us. It was a good reminder and lesson about (1) not making assumptions about surface appearances and (2) the need to ask the Lord to come in and show us what needs to be cleaned out of our lives that we may or may not be aware of.
I shared this thought with the group while driving back to church, and hope you are blessed by it too. Our group was thankful for the opportunity to help the community and to see how the Lord can teach us lessons through nature, while being of service to others.