Bake Sales and Blessings

I am not a “Pollyanna”.  I do not always look at the glass half-full, and I am not always an optimist, and I have been disappointed by world, and the people in the world, many times over. In fact, some days I can be downright negative, grumpy with the world around me.

But today…oh, today is different.

Today is one of those days where I am overwhelmed by the goodness of others, and holding back tears of gratitude that I am able to see others being the hands and feet of Christ.

We live in student housing, in a development of townhouses built for seminary students and their families. Being that we are all Christians and affiliated with a seminary, you’d assume that it would be a utopia, all sunshine and roses. But alas, we are all broken people, and broken people tend to wound other people. It is a beautiful place, full of beautiful people, but we all struggle with our own faults and failings.

Today, however, I glimpsed a bit of the utopia that we can be. I saw a community gather together in support of one of its own.

One of our families has recently had a member diagnosed with cancer. As they struggle with dealing with the reality that a sickness like this brings, their friends and neighbors struggle with how to be of assistance. I ache with the knowledge of my own impotence, that there is so little that I personally can do to help this family.

One of the neighbors decided to hold a benefit bake sale, to run in conjunction with a yard sale that was scheduled for today. This was decided on Thursday.  With the power of social media and word of mouth, we spread the word, gathering people to bake and contribute.

So that is what I did. I baked. There is so little else that one can do in a situation like this, other than to do what little we can. So I baked. Cookies. Muffins. Scones. And I prayed.

With every measurement of flour, I breathed a prayer of healing.

With every pour from a jug, I prayed for a miracle.

Every scoop of sugar contained a sweet prayer for mercy.

As I stirred and kneaded, I couldn’t help but pray over this family, and wonder how they were going to manage. How they would get through. My heart aches for them, for their children.

We had a big variety of things show up to be sold.  Muffins, doughnuts, pastries, cakes and pies. Hot coffee and cold drinks. A little bit of something for anyone who was hungry. And people showed up to support and donate, generous gifts shoved into the coffee can of collections.

In two days, this bake sale was planned and executed, and the community showed up. They showed up and showered this family in love and generosity.  This is what we are called to do, this is who we are when we are acting in Christian love.  This, THIS, is what we do when we are the hands and feet of Christ.  We do what we can, with whatever means we have, and God comes alongside and blesses it, multiplying it.  When we do things in love, we are filled with Love.

There has been a lump in my throat for most of the day, as I have seen the gentle love that has been flowing through our little corner of the world. I stand in awe of the One who has created us with a capacity for love for one another, so that we are compelled to help and assist one another when we can.  Whether it be baking or buying baked goods, donating time or donating money, when we feel that urging to act in love, we need to act. There is a reason that we feel that nudging in our spirit to help one another, and we must act upon that.

I loved glimpsing utopia today. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow may bring, how my vision may be expanded.

But first, I should probably do some dishes…. =)

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The Darkest of Days

I can imagine that time stood still that day. The darkness that overcame the land, the earth trembling, heaving, in agony with it’s Creator.  The sorrow, the despair, the darkness in man’s soul matching the sky.  A body broken.  Weeping at the foot of a cross, as those in the background continued to mock and laugh.

Who among us does not understand grief, doesn’t know the ache that happens in the marrow of your bones when one you love dies? That weariness, that utter despair that gnaws, that exhausts? Weak, we can fall to our knees, crying out, cursing, broken.

And yet, we are an Easter people. We understand that there is hope, that there is more than what we see. We know despair, but we also know hope.

There was no hope that Friday, as the sky turned black. With his death came despair like the world had never known. Those who had pinned their hopes on this man floundered, unsure of what his death meant.  They fled, scared for their own lives. They scattered, hiding, weeping.

We tend to rush past Good Friday, in anticipation of Easter Sunday. How much more exciting it is to focus on the joy of the resurrection rather than the despair of death. And yet, death is what precedes life. Our joy cannot be fully complete without first knowing the pain of loss. As Christians, it is my belief that we need to have a grasp on understanding the pain, the agony, that Christ went through, in our appreciation of what He endured for you and me. We can’t sugar-coat the ugliness of His suffering, His death, because it pains us to think about. It should pain us to think about it, it should cause us grief.

It should create in us an awe and appreciation that we are worthy of such a gift.

Not for anything that we have done. Or haven’t done. But we are worthy because He made us so. Worthy of a gift that is priceless. A gift given freely. But a gift of great cost.

We are an Easter people. We live in the joy and the glory that knows a Savior, that understands that death is not the end.