Moments, Memorials, Meals
I’m sitting in a hotel room getting ready to go to visiting hours at a funeral home. My cousin Chris has died and my family is doing what we do best—gathering to hold one another. This time, this memorial is a stop on my way to talk about ministry and mission and dinner and the Kin-dom of God.
This has me thinking about endings, and about our goals in ministry. When a person is beloved, their death is a time to remember all the good they have done in our lives and in the world. When the person’s life is especially hard, we remember both their struggles and their successes. When someone has caused harm, similarly, the harm does not end with their death.
All of this to say that death is not the end of the person. In Christianity, of course, we preach resurrection, which is important, but is not my point here. Instead I’m noticing the way that every bit of the life that Chris has lived is still part of our lives, still part of the world, still critical to who we are, who I am, to who we are as family. And because I’m headed next to talk about the Kin-dom of God I’m noticing how the people I’ve shared with at food pantries and meal programs, are still a part of who I am in God’s realm.
Every death is a time for reflection on life, and every time I’ve had to grieve I learn—again and again—that the moments are what are important. This moment and that moment connect to create a theme, but the theme is nothing without that great specific story.
And when I reflect on ministry with people who don’t have the material resources they need, I realize that the moments are important. We are pressured to make food pantries and meal programs into something that ends food insecurity. The reality is that these programs are simply bandaids—it takes systemic change to end food insecurity. That systemic work is essential in the same way that medical services to prevent early deaths are essential.
But until food insecurity is ended, meal programs and food pantries are the moments in community when we come together, when we share what we have. If everyone is invited to volunteer, then we can share so many moments, so many stories, we can share so much of who we are with one another. Isn't that the Kin-dom, those moments we share?
Each death reminds us that the moments are the point. The Kin-dom of God is at hand, here in this moment, if we take the time to work together, to eat together, to share our stories.
7/24/2022 05:06:05 pm
Description of loved one dying and food insecurities was helpful to understand the term, Kin-dom.
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For my organized thoughts, see my book Five Loaves, Two Fish, Twelve Volunteers: Developing Relational Food Ministries. In this spot are thoughts that appear for a moment--about food programs, mission, church, building community, writing, and whatever else pops into my head.