A Regular Saturday Just After Christmas
There are many things that have been running through my head as I thought about this weeks wonderings.
I could take a moment and do the traditional year end review and there is much that has taken place in our lives
- renovations that were thrown upon us;
- challenges that were placed in our pathway that were met with grace;
- grief that has surfaced among us and held in love;
- saying goodbye to staff and welcoming new;
- celebrations that are too many to count; and so much more
I could take a moment to look ahead to the year that lies before us and reflect on the opportunities that are just waiting for us! It is always exciting to think that we will grow and change and to imagine what we can become. But instead, what I really want to share today is a story.
A Regular Saturday Just After Christmas
It was a regular Saturday just after Christmas. Things were quiet after the hustle and bustle of the seasonal celebrations and we were ready for a do nothing sort of day. That is when Mark looked at his datebook and realized that his church was hosting the community dinner at St. Georges in Halifax and he needed to be there by 3pm. “Do you want to come with me?” He asked. After a very brief moment of reflection I said “Sure, why not?”
Now if I am being honest, it really was the last thing I wanted to do. The previous two weeks had been packed with services, funerals, family gatherings, moving and I was ready to rest. Yet there was something that was calling me to go. So we got dressed and headed off to Halifax.
When we arrived we were greeted by Don who is one of the most spirit filled people I know and he quickly put us to work – cutting rolls and buttering them. The rest of the food was cooking and warming and pretty soon everything was ready. We were all given our work stations and the doors opened at 4pm. We served 77 people and did another 30 or so take outs. It was a time of greeting and conversation with people I had never met. There was laughter and bantering and a real sense of community was created.
The part of the story that really made a mark on me though was something that happened just before we started. Don, who is the organizer and the heart of much of the outreach work at St. Francis, called us together and made one statement
“Remember the answer is always yes! Whatever someone asks for we will figure it out and make it happen.”
The smile he had was one of those that comes from deep within the soul and his joy at being a part of this was sacred and he meant what he said.
It did not matter how many times someone came through the line, as long as the food lasted, they were fed.
If they wanted extras to take home, it happened.
If they needed a space apart from the crowd, it was created.
Don exuded enthusiasm and joy and it was infectious. He modeled for all of us what it means to bear God’s love and bring to birth the light that will change the world. He reminded us that no matter who we are, where the road has taken us, we are all beloved of God and we deserve to be treated with respect, care and compassion.
What started as a chore turned out to be one of the greatest Christmas presents I received this year.
Hand in Hand and Side by Side
As we begin the journey into a new year and a new decade my prayer is that we will be empowered to bear the light, touch someone with love, and walk the path of Jesus. I leave you with the words of a hymn Chris and I wrote some time ago which I saw reflected in Don and the others with whom we gathered on a “do nothing” sort of day.
He walked into the market place. His arms were open wide.
He offered there his friendship, hand in hand and side by side
On mountainside or by the sea, his mission was to teach
with words of truth and wisdom, gathered crowds he tried to reach.
The broken down and those in pain, they came to him for care.
He opened doors to wholeness, off’ring hope and comfort there
He did not want to rule the world but came to love and serve
He lifted up the lowly, sharing all without reserve
As prophet, he spoke daring words of justice, love and peace
He challenged those in power, saying empires now must cease
Against the system he rebelled and tried to right the wrong
exposing the division. that existed far too long
Our mission is to serve the world, to speak the truth we know
We’re called to challenge systems of oppression, hate and fear.
In welcoming with open arms, the vision is made clear.
© 2020 Rev. Valerie Peyton Kingsbury