Years ago my Dad walked into the kitchen while my Mama was cooking. He took one look at the noodles boiling, parmesan cheese grated and olives drained and said, Who died?
It was not until that moment that we realized my Mom had been feeding the bereaved of Tuscaloosa County that same pasta salad for years. If it was a big family, she’d make a double-batch. She almost always had the pantry stocked with the ingredients so that she could make it quickly in a pinch; and it almost always went out the door in a big, yellow Tupperware bowl with her name, fading, but clear in Sharpie on the bottom. Truth-be-told, I don’t think Mama needs to label that bowl now – those who receive it know exactly who delivered it, and more importantly, they know the heart and hands that work in concert to show her care.
This Sunday we will commission three newly trained Stephen Ministers. Cheyney Nicholson, Madison Stanley and Emily Grant have just completed 50 hours of Stephen Ministry training. They have done both the inward and outward work to serve as Stephen Ministers, lay care-givers, committed to high-quality care. Stephen Ministers are trained to provide one-to-one care to people experiencing a difficult time in life – grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, relocation, or another major life-transition. They are active listeners; deep prayers and thoughtful companions through life’s valleys and shadows. West Raleigh is made better by their work among us, and I am grateful.
“You are the body of Christ,” Paul said, “and individually, members of it.” When one member of the body, grieves, we grieve together. When one member has reason to celebrate, we dance together. It remains a privilege to walk with you through shadows and valleys and to celebrate the peaks and milestones for that is what we do as the body of Christ. So, friends, this Sunday, I will make my Mama’s pasta salad to share for the Comfort Food potluck in gratitude for all the ways that we care for one another – all the meals made, prayers said, cards written, coffee and chocolate shared, hands gently squeezed, silence holy held – for that is church at its best. May it be so among us.
See you Sunday,