Embody and Live
Gail Ronneberg of Granite Bay, CA, USA
Faithful disciples respond to an increasing awareness of the abundant generosity of God by sharing according to the desires of their hearts; not by commandment or constraint…Give generously according to your true capacity. -Doctrine and Covenants 163:9
“The food is delicious, but it isn’t the food that makes this such a special place. It’s the environment, the people, the welcome,” commented one of our homeless guests who spent four nights in our building in February.
This was our second year hosting folks who are being supported by Trinity Center in Walnut Creek that helps them with the many needs associated with homelessness. Once a month they need an alternate location for winter night shelter normally housed in the National Guard Armory. “Do not be afraid to go where it beckons you to go” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:1) was our reassurance.
We took to heart the words of inspiration, “‘Community of Christ,’ your name, given as a divine blessing, is your identity and calling. If you will discern and embrace its full meaning…” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:1). So our little congregation of 20-25 active disciples agreed together to do what we could to provide a welcoming space that affirms the worth of those who need food and rest.
Indeed it was a community effort. We offered ways that everyone in the congregation could be part of the endeavor: donate bottles of water for food bags we would send with our new friends after each night’s rest, bake cookies for a homemade treat, and one Sunday, after a brief worship, we chopped vegetables for the stew we would serve and nuts from the walnut orchard of one of our members for ice cream sundaes.
The blessings of community rippled out as folks from the LDS church and the Neighborhood Church responded to our invitation to join with us. Each group took a night to prepare and serve a meal. Our wonderful young adults with a heart for justice volunteered to take a night. That left a very doable one night meal for us to staff.
The final blessing of community was sitting at the tables, breaking bread together, and being in relationship with dear folks whom we welcomed as one of us. “If you truly would be Community of Christ, then embody and live the concerns and passion of Christ” (Doctrine and Covenants 164:9d).
“Your mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23, adapted).
Ordinary Time is a season for noticing the details of life that make up its substance. This month, we invite you to pay attention with each fresh morning to the gift of being alive. Before getting out of bed, take a few deep breaths and notice what it feels like to wake up in your own body. Engage the tasks of your unfolding day with reverence-brushing your teeth, making the bed, pouring the coffee, tending the kids, feeding the animals, making breakfast, etc. Notice the presence of the Holy in every ordinary thing. Embrace your daily routines with sacramental significance. Notice how long you can do this before your attention is taken away, and commit to returning to this simple awareness as gently and often as you can.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.