From the Dean’s Desk: Respond to Human Need
The Very Reverend Paul Lebens-Englund
To respond to human need by loving service.


As you may know, the community of Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral has entered into a five-week period of intentional prayer and discernment, looking for the signs of God's presence and activity in us, around us, and through us as glimpsed through the framework of the Five Marks of Mission.

In yesterday's homily, Amelia Arthur unpacked for us the much-beloved story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), whom we’re told ‘was a chief tax collector and was rich.’ In her homily, Amelia likened Zacchaeus’ ‘coming down from the tree’ to God's own ‘coming down’ among us in the person of Jesus. Just as God is no distant observer to the hurts and hungers of the world, but is an active participant in healing and reconciling, so too are we to eschew cold, distant observation by responding to human need through loving service.

As has been said, we are God's hands and feet in the world, which not only endows us with considerable rights and privileges, but which also claims our time, talent, and treasure to fulfill the obligations and responsibilities of that holy vocation. At Saint Mark’s, we recognize that most of us fulfill the obligation to serve others through our various community commitments—family, friends, neighborhood councils, school PTAs, professional organizations, civic organizations, arts organizations, political organizations, and the like—but we also recognize that making a collective impact as a faith community not only helps bind us to one another in common cause, but also binds our faith community to the larger community by making its cares and concerns our own. To that end, Saint Mark’s is committed to the hard work of discerning the real needs of our community and to addressing them creatively, collaboratively, and with the highest positive impact possible. Whether serving meals or raising scholarship funds or supporting neighborhood schools or partnering with housing and employment programs or addressing gun violence, community policing, and racial reconciliation, Saint Mark’s is committed to being a good neighbor and a positive contributor.

Our individual and collective footprint in the greater Twin Cities is significant and is marked by our commitment to respond to human need through loving service. Are you in? Are you committed? Consider making your pledge today!

Now, ask yourself, HOW do I or will I respond to human need by loving service?

  • Idea: Reflect on your ‘rule of life’: Among the areas of ‘prayer, study, & action,’ do you feel well balanced?
  • Idea: Reflect on this question: How are you already offering your loving service to the community around you?
  • Idea: Reflect on this question: If you’re looking for new ways to serve, what community needs speak most clearly to you? Food, housing, clothing, education, public safety, domestic violence, gun violence prevention, etc.?
  • Idea: Reflect on you own unique gifts and interests: Are you gifted, passionate, and well-positioned to address any of these particular needs?