Faith Taking Action
In one of the classrooms on the second floor of the Parish Hall, there is a large closet where we store leftover paper goods for the parish picnic. It’s filled with aluminum pans and plastic forks and paper plates, the sort of things that are purchased in bulk and can be used next year. At a glance, it looks like a mismatched hodgepodge of odd and ends, a few boxes of this, a couple hundred of that…..but put it all together and it becomes quite an impressive beginning, a foundation for the future.
That’s what the various and many donations which people make to the parish picnic remind me of. There are the outright monetary donations—like the family who picked up the bill for all the lobsters we purchased this year, or another family who did the same for the beer and wine, another for the band. There are the generous checks that come in the mail, specifically to help fund this fundraiser and the many businesses who donate goods or services for us to use (like tents and tables) or raffle away (like Kindles and restaurant certificates).
Add to those boxes of generosity, a couple of crates of time and energy: those who do the footwork of solicitation; those who show up at the end of the day ready to clean up; those who lug the boxes of leftovers upstairs on Monday morning; those who spend hours sorting and tagging white elephants; those who set up tents and supervise activities for children; those who stand for hours in front of a hot grill or boiling lobster pot; those who spend hours stuffing cabbage or dough.
Tuck in with these a carton or two of gifts and talents like the hands of a chef, the mind of an organizer, the artistry of a gift basket, the patience of a teacher, the eye of a jewelry collector, the muscle of a trash remover, the sharpness of the accountant.
Finally, place next to all of these a big bucket of energy and enthusiasm: of those who greet guests at admissions; those who paper the town with road signs and flyers; those who haul and lug and carry and refill with a smile; those who walk for hours selling 50/50.
All odds and ends. Some of this and some of that. Put all these “donations” together and you begin to form the basis of something greater, something that has a face and a soul: a Christian community of men and women who believe that when we work together and pray together there is a Presence among us that sanctifies the world through our effort. It’s how an afternoon picnic in a little Fairfield church to raise a few bucks for its own needs and those of its neighbor becomes something more. It becomes an experience, a glimpse, of faith taking action and Spirit taking form.
Thank you for your donation. Thank you for this glimpse.