Friday, August 26, 2011

What We Offer

There was a brown bag with handles sitting by the door when I arrived.  They wanted to make sure when I left, I would take a few things back to the church with me, things they were sure the church could use. 

I came, as I usually do, for conversation and communion.  Sometimes I think I could spend all day driving from house to house, praying and talking and sitting in rockers, drinking coffee.  I find out about secret joys and griefs, sometimes answer a burning question or two, ask a few myself. 

Today before communion, I prayed for our country, for our community, that we would learn to see each other as brothers and sisters and work together, despite our differences.  They said "Thank you" for that. 

The wife always washes out my communion cups.  She did the same today.  And before I left, they reminded me about the brown bag with the things they knew the church could really use.

Yarn for our prayer shawls, that's what it was.  It was still in the package, too. 

So I took it with me.  It wasn't heavy at all, no trouble to put it in the car, and no trouble to bring it into the church either.

Except that it wasn't at all the kind of yarn we use for prayer shawls.

In our house, we have an extra microwave.  It works, but we don't need it.  We were just going to throw it away, but found out that the city would charge us to take it away.  Maybe we should give it to the church? I thought.  I can understand why people want to give things to the church, cast-offs, used items that aren't useless, but aren't exactly what they used to be.    Maybe it's because you don't have room any more, and you are sure that if any place has room, the church does.  Maybe it's because you want to think this item of yours is still useful to someone.

In a culture that seems to have less and less use for the Church, and less and less idea about what we are about, perhaps this is who we are:  the place you bring your cast offs.

Old tongue depressers, balls of yarn.  Wrapping paper, tin cans, pipe cleaners.  Cast-offs, used goods.  Faded or new. 

Bring it to the church.  We'll find room.  And if we don't, God will.

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