I just got back to the office from our "Freaky Friday" book group. Every Friday in February (and the first Friday in March), we're meeting at Panera Bread to talk about an amazing and inspiring little book called Jesus Freak by Sara Miles (Sara will be the featured speaker at Diocesan Convocation on March 9-10).
Jesus Freak describes Sara's experience in a food pantry she helped launch at a church in San Francisco. Each Friday they provide groceries for nearly 800 people, and offer lunch to a team of several dozen volunteers, most of whom are also clients of the pantry. That in and of itself is miraculous. But the pantry is about more than just providing food to hungry people, because, as she writes, "anywhere there's food, spirit and matter intersect."
Sara writes about her experience of meeting Jesus and being Jesus. Jesus continually walks through their doors in the form of the least and lost of San Francisco. And Jesus is what she is transformed into when she offers his gracious generosity to very same least and lost. It is a cycle of blessing.
Our book group conversations have been some of the most exciting of my time at St. Peter's, because Sara Miles' story resonates so personally with what we're trying to be about in our own food pantry.
- We are seeking to serve Jesus -- who comes to our pantry three times a week as an elderly couple on fixed income, or a local homeless fisherman, or a low-income single mother of three.
- And we are seeking to be Jesus -- each time we greet these strangers compassionately, fill their bags with food, and ask God's blessing on their lives.
The Holy Spirit is definitely flowing freely in our Freaky Friday conversation, inspiring us to be disciples in new and different ways.
I believe we all need these conversations. We all need to be inspired by the amazing example of others. We all need to imagine how we can be part of God's plan of salvation for the whole world. We all need to be reminded that it matters, that we matter, that Christianity can be more than just a bunch of really nice ideas, that we can actually be Jesus' hands and feet: feeding, healing, loving, serving.
God is busy making new that which had grown old, and raising up those things that were cast down. Don't you want to be a part?