Faith Stories: United as One
A few weeks before Thanksgiving, a crew came from Capital One Bank to help work at The Shepherd’s Market. They came not only ready to lend a hand on a busy market day but armed with supplies to fix a wonderful breakfast of sausage and pancakes for all of us. We gathered around the tables, clients and volunteers alike, and ate and laughed and shared our stories and hopes and dreams.
United in our brokenness, and our hunger, and our desire to be reconciled, we were the church universal. Many of the clients helped to carry plates of food and cups of hot coffee, to clean up the mess after our meal, and then to stay and help in the market as our day of shopping began.
One of the young men from the bank began to tease my friend, Keith, about the poor state of his shoes — shoes that were held together with duct tape and needed to long ago be laid to rest. I wondered if I would need to break up the teasing before the young man might come to realize that these were probably Keith’s only pair of tennis shoes. But the young man left at about that time. However, not much time passed before he was back with a gift retrieved from his truck. Would Keith like this pair of Nikes that the man had just bought? They just happened to be the right size, and the banker explained that he would like Keith to have them. A perfect fit, and Keith happily tossed his old shoes away.
In the book of Acts, we find the saying that it is more blessed to give than to receive, but I’m sure that was not the only lesson I was reminded of that day. I was reminded that Holy Communion just might come in the form of pancakes and coffee. I was reminded that each day we are called to live as the church universal wherever we might happen to be. I was reminded that laying down one’s life for a friend might just look like a new pair of Nike tennis shoe given to a stranger in need. Mostly, I was reminded that in our work of feeding others, we will most likely come away as the ones being fed.
There is a benediction that we often sing called Sent Forth by God’s Blessing. In the second verse, there are these words: “With your grace you feed us, with your light you now lead. Unite us as one in this life that we share.” This is my prayer.