Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Every Neighbor Loves A Good Cook Out

Yesterday was SO MUCH FUN!  It was the 3rd celebration of what is one of our favorite days of the year. 

It was a day of food, friends, and fellowship at our church.  My husband and I set up the grills near the entrance to our church and fired ‘em up.  Then he threw on the sausage, hot dogs, and burgers just as people were coming out after the service.  Many coming out of the service wondered if it might be for them . . . but no.  It was for our buddies . . .  the homeless and needy arriving soon after they left.

Is this cruel and unusual punishment?  Last year we had started early, and those in the service had actually smelled the food cooking during church, and came out drooling.  That was fun ;)  They looked at us eagerly, wondering if this wonderful smelling food was for them.  “It’s not for you.  It’s for the community supper later."  Mean?  Maybe.  Am I sorry that they got they’re hopes up only to be disappointed?  No, not really, and I’ll tell you why.

Think about it this way.  Let’s live in the holey, worn out shoes instead for a moment, shall we?  Everywhere you turn, there is disappointment.  You lose a job, or maybe you are underemployed, or underpaid.  You are forced to give up many of the things that you have grown accustomed to.  You can no longer eat out, in fact if you have a meal today, you’re lucky.  Some weeks you may not eat for two and three days at a time.  Pantries full of food, treats like coffee from the coffee shop, a car (much less a car that runs well), clean clothes fresh from the dryer, a long hot shower, maybe even a bed to sleep on . . . all pipe dreams that are about as sure to come true for you as the tooth fairy paying a visit. 

You are forced to live without regular medical care, dental care, and other basic needs.  If you are homeless you become used to not only the ravages of severe weather, but of those in law enforcement and society that treat you as if you have a contagious disease that must be quarantined from the rest of us.  No one understands, and no one cares.  Don’t bother asking for anything from anybody other then those at a charity.  One look at you, and the answer is ALWAYS no.  There is almost no pride or dignity left, only humility as far as the eye can see. 

Why?!  Are you not still a person?  Are you worth any less then any of the rest of us?  Do you not have dreams and hopes, even if you may have stuffed and buried them to protect what little you have that’s valuable and precious to you?

If you have any of the things listed above, congratulations, you are doing well.  Whether you believe it or not, you are.

But for those that are without all of these simple pleasures, for those that endure disappointment after disappointment in their lives, it is for them that yesterday happened.  For at least one day of each of these three years, when they ask, “Who is the cookout for?”, I can say “It’s for you!”  “And like the love that Jesus so freely gives to ALL of us, it’s free of charge.”  You should see the smiles as they fully realize the wonderfulness of this!  That this is THEIR meal.

I truly believe that THIS grilled meal is an “aroma pleasing to the Lord”.  After all, who doesn’t love a cook out? ;)

Praise you Lord for all of the blessings that you so freely offer us every day.  So many things we take for granted, and we forget that they are a gift from you.  Those around us are also a gift from you that we must never take for granted.  May we never look upon another human being again in disgust and shame, but give us all the eyes to see the beautiful creation that you have made in them.  Allow us to look past what is undesirable to us and love them for who they are even in their imperfections, as you love us even as we are imperfect.  We love you Lord.  Thank you all you are, and all you do.  Amen

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