The Peace and Justice Committee is collecting information from Peace Mennonite participants about how they are seeking to live out their faith and serve others during this time of Covid-19. Please see below for an invitation and information on how you can share.
- I’m just not that crazy about salad, but I grow lettuce anyway, and sometimes I eat it, and sometimes I sell it at the Farmers Market. That’s what I was going to do this spring—the selling part, I mean. And then Covid-19 presented itself just after I planted my seeds.
- My growing of lettuce has become somewhat of a ritual, an annual exercise in humility and awe. I am somehow proud of it, even though the burying of a seed, the transplanting of a seedling, the harvesting of a whole, beautiful head has very little to do with me. I’m really just an interested front-row bystander who has an appetite for being amazed over and over again.
- That a tiny sliver of seed can grow into a big, beautiful salad, night after night, just astonishes me and makes my thoughts turn to things holy and sacred and beyond my understanding.
- I have raised two teenage boys by myself. At their ugliest, both boys have been hard to like, at times, and routinely turned up questions in my mind about love, too. Attempts to express my love for them were mostly irrelevant. But in both cases, along about their fifteenth or sixteenth year, the daily regimen of cooking a good evening meal stopped being the production and serving of nutrition and became, instead, the only remaining way I could think of to let them know that they were loved. And so I served them, mindful of Jesus who lovingly served the throng, and said a silent prayer that someday they could recognize my meal as symbolic of my desire to be in loving communion with them.
- So, Covid-19, miracles in a seed, and the giving of food as an expression of love. All have been relevant as I have sought and found a place for my lettuce this year, given the late start of the Farmers Market. The Ladybird Diner, which happens to be owned and operated by a former fifth grade student of mine, serves 200 sack lunches everyday, and is handing out 10 Pantry Boxes every week to people who have lost their jobs or are otherwise in crisis because of the virus. And I am thrilled that the lettuce I have given is being distributed to those who are hungry this year. It’s a very small thing in the overall picture, like a lost seed in the dirt, but I’m glad to have found a way, however small, to help.
- Mission to support others during this critical time: I have not been actively involved in my community. I think that boils down to my mission being to Stay Home. I know there are many people who can’t stay home, because of their work or their need to keep feeding their families. Some, frankly, don’t have the cognitive ability to understand that they need to stay home. I can’t change anyone else’s actions or mindset, but I can control my own. I have the luxury of being able to stay home, with my work and my stable living situation and my ability to keep food on the table and cat food in the dish and my ability to connect with people electronically. So I am resolved to stay out of other people’s way. I stay home as much to protect others as to protect myself. This also extends to leisure activity. I would love to be going for walks at Baker Wetlands and the Arboretum. But I am doing OK without those things. I don’t have bored children to entertain. So again I do my part by staying away from places that become less safe the more people are at them. I also use my voice and my words wherever and whenever I can. I see myself as a calm presence in a time when that quality is much needed. I try to be informed and to share what I know and what I believe to be true in a calm yet authoritative way, in a variety of situations (mostly in social media). I believe that is also a contribution. And I am trying to be aware of needs that I can help meet through financial or material donation.
- Any reflections you have–theological, biblical, or otherwise, about your service: It seems like a passive form of service, to Stay Home, but I am looking at it as a sacred duty to avoid harming someone else. That seems at the heart of “love your neighbor,” and if it’s what is called for now, it is what I can do.
Sewing comes naturally to me. My mother was an accomplished seamstress; she worked from home and taught me the basics. I was blessed with four daughters and kept them in homemade clothes throughout their childhood. My oldest daughter studied fashion design and passed many useful hints on to me. So, when I became aware of the current need for face masks, it didn’t take me long to decide to get busy. Youtube provides plenty of tutorials, I have a large stash of fabric and, last not least, I am doing what I love and, hopefully, am helping out a little. So far, the masks have gone to my family and their friends and acquaintances. But, I have built up a stock and will gladly take requests.
“… whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”. Matthew 25, 40
THE PEACE AND JUSTICE COMMITTEE knows very well that the many members of the church expand the vision of mission through their commitment to serving in the broader community. Please take a moment to share your personal mission in the community and the world. If you would, please start with the way you have committed to assist your neighbors or others during this time of stress with the pandemic. I think the smallest efforts like checking in on others are so appreciated. Then if you would, describe your involvement in Lawrence and perhaps the world. Peace and Justice would like to share mission moments with the congregation on our church web site and as part of our weekly worship. Please email the following information to Karen Brown (ksb10 at juno.com).
- Mission to support others during this critical time:
- Ways in which you generally contribute in the community through
- service projects
- neighbor to neighbor
- missions of Mennonite church
- Any reflections you have–theological, biblical, or otherwise, about your service.