Have you ever prepared a meal for a crowd?
How large a crowd?
Have you ever counted pennies to cover your grocery bill?
How many pennies?
Have you ever been hungry?
Adventure Week Eight started months ago. Spring 2015. I was there at church on a Sunday morning in the lull that comes between the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the table –
And Father Lyon began telling us what our corporate act of mercy would be in Lent 2016.
The vestry of Church of the Good Shepherd had decided to partner with Feeding Children Everywhere. Over the course of the year, we would aim to collect $4,000 and on Saturday, 20 February 2016, we would work together in the Parish Hall during our Lenten Retreat Day to assemble meals for 10,000 hungry children.
You read that right.
I was super excited. But I did wonder how.
What kind of meals? What sort of assembly line?
Cooked ones? Surely not, some of the meals this organization provides are for international needs.
Meals to freeze? That couldn’t be. Our building doesn’t have freezer space.
Our parish hall is not that big. How many volunteers needed? How many supplies?
But still excited.
Throughout the year we heard short announcement blips. From the beginning, the attitude presented was – we are going to do this.
And we are going to do it together.
And we did.
My Saturday started with Eucharist at 8.30 am. .The readings were aptly chosen. The gospel reading was about – what else – LOVE. And included the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Our meals were going to Syrian refugees and our prayers were specifically for them. I wish I could include them here, but I haven’t figured out how yet. Touching. Powerful.
And the homily instructed us that when we left the sanctuary and began doing our work, that our work would be incarnational.
Incarnational work is not always perfect.
There was a little attitude on our assembly line. Watch this commercial video, if you will, and notice the assembly line organization. They’ve got it down to a science.
(And yes, on my particular line Saturday morning, it was a science. We had a chemist, a nurse, and a nuclear engineer.)
We made bags of lentil casserole. I ladled pink Himalayan sea salt. That was my part. The line went salt, dehydrated vegetables, rice, then lentils into a plastic bag. Then quality control check weighing.
Then the bag was sealed. And counted as it went into the large box. And at some number of bags that I can’t remember – a bell and celebration happened.
We worked about an hour.
Yep. About an hour to assemble 10,000 meals.
Last night I made one of the lentil casseroles. I did add some grapes and deviled eggs to the plate. But, I’m pretty happy with what the refugees will get to eat.
It was good.
You could get up a group and do this, too.