In Lent, Synod News

40 Day Journey with Our Neighbors in Solidarity

Week 1:  Church on the Street
Focus:  Matthew 25:35-36, 40
Pastor Shelly Gehring

Day 2: Matthew 25:35-36,40 (Revised Standard Version) 

34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked, and you clothed me, I was sick, and you cared for me, I was in prison, and you came to me… 40 Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.

For the past six months I have had the privilege of serving as part-time pastor with Church on the Street and as part-time pastor with Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.  This is a one year pilot to test the theory of an established congregation and mission start congregation sharing a pastor.  In these six months I have learned a lot and prior to this call my assigned line of our text would have been something I would not have thought much about.  It stands to reason that persons who struggle with housing in security would also struggle to adequately hydrate themselves and not just during the hot and steamy South Dakota summer but also during the cold and dry South Dakota winter.

What I was not prepared for was the first time I helped to lead worship with Church on the Street.  It was that experience that has completely changed how I read and understand “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink”.  Our brothers and sisters who live life on the margins long to be seen, accepted and welcomed.  They long to be valued and treated as equal.

On that warm and sunny Saturday in October I watched as the barriers melted away and volunteers who live in 6 bedroom homes and drive shiny sportscars stood in line with persons who had not had a permanent address in years and who rely solely on their feet for transportation.  Together they stood in a line that led to the same table and at that table they stood side-by-side each ready to receive the same meal of bread and wine.  The same body and blood of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  The same gift of salvation given to all by a God who only sees hunger and thirst, not socio or economic status.  In that one holy moment thirst was quenched and equality received.


During this season of Lent will you strive for equality?
Will you seek to lay aside your own pre-conceived ideas and open yourself to acceptance of all people regardless of where they may or may not live? 


  • Oversee a water drive. Church on the Street gives out hundreds of bottles of water each month.
  • Pray and work for long-term solutions, such as accessible water fountains and the ability for folks to have their reusable thermoses washed and sanitized.
  • Donate funds for Church on the Street to purchase water when needed.


Creator God:  During this Lenten season we ask that you journey with us as we seek to find a way for all people to be treated with equality and human dignity.  Help us, Holy Lord, to work tirelessly to give respect and value to all of God’s children. Amen.