Friday, December 09, 2016

An Advent Message for All Who Participate in the Trinity Food Ministry

Reflections on Trinity Food Ministry and Advent
By Trinity Food Manager Barbi Click

Here we are, heading rapidly into the 2nd Sunday of Advent. While all the ways of Advent tell us to wait, sit, be still, rest our daily lives tell us to hurry, faster, strive for more.

I find that true with my days in this ministry. It is as though the more we give, the more there are who need. I make myself take a rest, otherwise, I would continue until I fall down. There is just so much to do; so much left undone.

I remember in the first few months that I started working at Trinity, one volunteer suggested that I was giving too much away. I asked him who we were saving it for and he said whoever comes tomorrow. I told him we would have enough as we needed it, that today is all we know.

While I believed what I said, who knew we would end up with such abundance? And it does not show any signs of stopping. We do not have merely enough – we have such an abundance that we often must coax some people into taking more. As for the volunteers thinking that we give away too much…that is no longer the case, as I understand it. In fact, there are a few who firmly believe we do not give enough.

The need is sometimes overwhelming. I wonder how I, personally, can maintain this pace. It seems that the meal part of the pantry grows each day. Sometimes the weight of it all bears down upon me so profoundly. But then God shares that Spirit and I am uplifted.

That is what the words of this 2nd Sunday of Advent’s Isaiah message (11:1-10) do for me; these offer hope. We long for the day when the wolf shall live with the lamb and the leopard will lie down with the kid. We anxiously await that little child who will lead us. The day of righteousness is before us when we will live in peace and love with one another and with our God. It is here in these words – this promise.

Thinking about the Pantry and this message of Isaiah makes me wonder if we are holding a key to the kingdom of God right here in this South Parish Hall every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. People line up to share a meal, to bring a bag of clothes, to sometimes offer a freshly baked sweet potato pie, to eat, to laugh and sometimes cry, to share stories, and a chance to get some fresh foods and canned goods to stretch their dollars to fit the need.

I greet people as they walk through the door. Often, they are in a hurry for the goods on the tables. Some rush to the kitchen opening to get the offerings of the day. Some rush to be first in line with the registrars. First come, first served at whichever part is the priority. Regardless, all are served.

There is no forced agenda that makes people stick around. It is simply the abundance of good food, laughter, and community bringing people together. Food is a key ingredient!

Like an auto-immune disease, too often, we suffer from a non-self recognition dis-ease. It builds barriers that are difficult to break down. Sharing a meal is a great way to learn to talk to those with whom we might never feel the desire or need to speak. That is why we have church potlucks! Bring food and people will show up!

Trinity Food Pantry is a little slice of the kingdom of God. People of all types can be found in this parish hall, sometimes as many as 100 in one hour’s time. It is crazy and noisy with voices raised in conversation and laughter. People who exist with much disease in their lives: Poverty, drugs, alcohol, violence, mental disorders, physical ailments, hunger in the belly and the heart, so many isms, so many issues.

Yet, in the midst of all of these things, we come together for a little while, in love and in peace. It is good to await “the root of Jesse” in our midst. And it is glorious.

Thank you all for sharing this ministry and your gifts. It is my pleasure and love to serve with you.

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