Who Put the Butter on the Table?
Marla Faszholz of Berkeley, CA, USA
Let the church be admonished that the times are portentous and demand faithful adherence to the faith and work of the church, that mankind may be blessed by and find peace in those religiously social reforms and relationships which have been divinely imposed as a great task of achievement. -Doctrine and Covenants 136:6a
Finding the sacred in the ordinary, everyday parts of life has been important in my faith walk ever since I was a kid. Somehow in the midst of the form and function of congregational life, that sweet spirit of loving attention and a pervasive gentleness and kindness taught me this spiritual truth through simple deeds that came with noticing.
In March our Walnut Creek, California, congregation had the pleasure of hosting about 25 folks without a home for four nights of supper, a relaxing evening, and overnight shelter. We had never done this before so didn’t really know much about how to approach it except that we wanted folks to feel welcomed into our space, like guests in our home. Our hope was to be in community with them so we would be one community, not “us” and “them.”
So when all arrived and were settled, we came together to greet, welcome, and begin our evening together. The tables were set with tablecloths, simple centerpieces, dinnerware, stainless steel flatware, glass drinking glasses. Butter was placed on the tables an hour early so it would be soft to spread.
As I spoke greetings and made introductions, one of our guests, Mike, broke in to ask, “Who put the butter on the table?” One of our congregation confessed, “I did,” thinking something was wrong. Mike said, “I just want you to know how amazing it is to have butter already out on the tables! Most places put ice-cold butter out. This is awesome. Thank you!”
Simple noticing: what would speak welcome to our guests? Butter on the table, set for company. No paper plates, no plastic forks-intentionally not used. Welcome, guests, to an experience of extravagant hospitality.
Ordinary things with sacred impact: Worth of All Persons, Abolish Poverty and Needless Suffering, Congregations in Mission. . .one stick of butter at a time.
“… the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4).
Breathing God’s Compassion
Pay attention to your breathing and let it become calmer and deeper as you focus on God’s presence. Ask God to breathe in you. Imagine each breath carrying the light of God into your lungs, bloodstream, and every cell in your body until God’s Spirit fills you. Now imagine breathing out God’s compassion and grace each time you exhale, especially into places and situations in need of loving care. Give thanks to the Spirit, source of every breath, source of life.
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.