Church & Community Service Opportunities

Community Service: • Serve as coordinator for county Emergency Food and Shelter Program to distribute FEMA funds to local nonprofits • Volunteer on the Jackson fire department. • Come by and tackle a church “honey do” task. • Sign up to prepare coffee, serve refreshments, greet people at front door, or offer special music during worship. • Consider joining a church team. • Donate tents or sleeping bags and toiletries to day resource center for housing-insecure valley residents.

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Meditations on serving angels in the guise of strangers, and the role of patriarchs in our lives.

The Gift — Li-Young Lee

To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he’d removed
the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.

I can’t remember the tale,
but hear his voice still, a well
of dark water, a prayer.
And I recall his hands,
two measures of tenderness
he laid against my face,
the flames of discipline
he raised above my head.

Had you entered that afternoon
you would have thought you saw a man
planting something in a boy’s palm,
a silver tear, a tiny flame.
Had you followed that boy
you would have arrived here,
where I bend over my wife’s right hand.

Look how I shave her thumbnail down
so carefully she feels no pain.
Watch as I lift the splinter out.
I was seven when my father
took my hand like this,
and I did not hold that shard
between my fingers and think,
Metal that will bury me,
christen it Little Assassin,
Ore Going Deep for My Heart.
And I did not lift up my wound and cry,
Death visited here!
I did what a child does
when he’s given something to keep.
I kissed my father.


Hospitality

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Ghandi

People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou

In the cherry blossom’s shade there’s no such thing as a stranger. ― Kobayashi Issa

Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines. ― Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

There is great value in being able to say “yes” when people ask if there is anything they can do. By letting people pick herbs or slice bread instead of bringing a salad, you make your kitchen a universe in which you can give completely and ask for help. The more environments with that atmospheric makeup we can find or create, the better. ― Tamar Adler, An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace

But entertaining isn’t a sport or a competition. It’s an act of love, if you let it be. You can twist it and turn it into anything you want—a way to show off your house, a way to compete with your friends, a way to earn love and approval. Or you can decide that every time you open your door, it’s an act of love, not performance or competition or striving. You can decide that every time people gather around your table, your goal is nourishment, not neurotic proving. You can decide. ― Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes


On Patriarchs

The monarch oak, the patriarch of the trees,
Shoots rising up, and spreads by slow degrees.
Three centuries he grows, and three he stays.
Supreme in state, and in three more decays. — John Dryden

It is a wise father that knows his own child. — William Shakespeare

My father used to say it’s never too late to do what you want to do. And he said, ‘You never know what you can accomplish until you try.’ — Michael Jordan

I imagine God to be like my father. My father was always the voice of certainty in my life. Certainty in wisdom, certainty in the path, certainty always in God. For me God is certainty in everything. Certainty that everything is good and everything is God. — Yehuda Berg

Son, brother, father, lover, friend. There is room in the heart for all of the affections, as there is room in the heaven for all of the stars. — Victor Hugo

I imagined that the right name might be Father, and I imagined all that that name would imply: the love, the compassion, the taking offense, the disappointment, the anger, the bearing of wounds, the weeping of tears, the forgiveness … — Wendell Berry

It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father. — Pope John XXIII

Were man to live coeaval with the sun, the patriarch-pupil would be learning still. — Edward Young

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