Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas Stream of Conscience

On Sunday morning, during worship, we prayed for the people we would feed at the community meal in the afternoon.  In the Advent Bible Study we focused our prayers on The Magnificat, Mary's radical song of praise.  I chose the verse, "he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty."  I prayed and prayed and I thought about how often I have to resist food, resist the temptation of too much.  I live out that silly cliche, "A moment on the lips.  A lifetime on the hips."

So why do I have too much when so many have too little.  Statistics drifted through my brain.  There is enough food produced in this world so that all God's children could have, should have 3,000 calories a day.  But some have none while I constantly worry about more than I need.

After we put our Bibles down, we fed the hungry.  Plate after plate if that's what they wanted, and we filled up to go boxes so they could bring the food home, for someone else, for themselves, it didn't matter to us.  Every month I pull on my old waitress shoes and walk from table to table, asking if they're all right, what can I get them, a drink, one more dessert, can I take their plate or their fork or knife, what can I do to help them.  I chat with them and touch their shoulders or arms because they might not have another human touch them most days, and I shake their hands and I try to learn their names, because don't we all just want to be known?

One man told me I was pretty for a preacher and if he could just meet a woman like me he might get his life turned around after all.  I thought maybe it isn't me so much that's pretty, but my life.  I leave that meal and go to a warm home and too many things, and where do they go?  A trailer.  A motel room.  A project.   A car.  The park filled with Christmas lights that shine but don't warm.

And I remembered what another minister in town told me about needing to know my neighbors because I haven't met the clergyman across the street, or should I say, he hasn't met me.  I nodded politely when he said it, but I knew I'd already met them.  My neighbors come to my church every  month, hungry and we feed them.  And I don't know what they do those other days, but I keep praying Mary's prayer and ponder why some are hungry and some are not, why some have and some don't.  I don't get it, I don't have any answers, but I know one thing, God was born homeless.

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