Happy Spring! Whatever spring holiday you celebrate—Easter, Nowruz, Ostara, to name just a few—this is the time of year when, in the northern hemisphere, we honor the lengthening days, the return of warm weather, and the early signs of new life. It’s a time to feel abundant after the cold of winter, and a time to feel promise and renewal rising up within us.
On the farm where I live, this time of year means baby animals—rabbits, birds, piglets—and LOTS of eggs. Our latest batch of laying hens is up to about 10 dozen eggs per day! They are happily digging up worms, climbing the chestnut tree for fun, and generally thriving. But the summer markets haven’t quite gotten into full swing, so we have a surplus of eggs. So, last week, I took a load—8 boxes of 15 dozen eggs each (that’s 120 dozen eggs) over to one of our local Knoxville service agencies for distribution to the local community. Centro Hispano de East Tennessee has been a Westside Share-the-Plate partner in the past, and their leaders have spoken in our worship services, to help educate us about the needs of the community. Dropping off all those eggs, which otherwise would have been composted, and knowing they would feed families in the community, was something I can only describe as a blessing.
What sorts of surplus do you have in your life right now? Maybe you don’t have food, or even clothing, but most of us have things—time, skills, energy, or even hope—that others are needing right now. Too often, when faced with a hurting world, we feel inadequate to the task of making a difference. Too often, we tell ourselves that what we have won’t matter, because it doesn’t match our image of ‘giving.’ But even a kind word can make a world of difference.
On Easter Sunday every year, we celebrate our annual Flower Communion. This is the ritual in which we all bring flowers representing our gifts and talents, shared with the community. Then, at the end of the service, everyone takes home flowers different than those they brought. This represents the gifts we receive, the needs that are met, in our community. This year, I encourage you to think about what gifts you might share, that have gone unnoticed. Gifts or talents, or objects or services, that might otherwise not be used to their full measure.
As we give and receive, we thus have the ability to give again.
May the gifts you receive by being part of the Westside community not only fill you up, but also fill you to overflowing with the energy and resources to give again, keeping the cycle of generosity and life flowing throughout our community.