A Soup Kitchen Blessing

Along with a hot meal, a dose of hope.

Posted in , Nov 14, 2017

Soup kitchen hope

At our church’s Saturday kitchen we serve our guests a hot meal and some bread and fruit to go, but I like to think we also give a dose of hope. Or at least they can do that for us.

The whole operation is volunteer-run and that we can feed some 200 people Saturday after Saturday seems a minor miracle.

My role among the volunteers is small. I’m not a cook or server or pot washer but sort of a busboy assembling and re-assembling place settings through the course of the morning.

“Morning…Welcome…Glad you’re here...Thanks for coming,” I say dozens of times during the day, squeezing in between tables, wiping up spills with the sponge, setting up another placemat with napkin and fork.

I also like to sing. (No surprise there.)  So in the midst of scraping food scraps into the composting bin and dumping trash, I’ll burst into a tune and see if I can get our guests to join in.

On the Fourth of July weekend we sounded pretty good on a slew of patriotic songs. Christmas is coming up and I have no doubt we’ll be launching into a few carols. And “Amazing Grace” works for any season.

But last Saturday I led a song we’d never done before. There was a mom with two kids eating at one table. The oldest daughter looked to be about five years old and seemed mighty shy.

“Would you help me sing?” I asked. She nodded hesitantly. “I’ll bet you know this one,” I said.

I started in on “This little light of mine…” and sure enough, she was right there with me. “I’m gonna let it shine,” she burst out proudly. She sang the whole thing without hesitating.

I don’t know what the other guests thought, but I think it was one of the best duets I’ve ever sung. “You’re a star!” I told her. She blushed.

The song was over, and there were plenty of tables that needed new placemats, napkins, forks. I went back to work. The line of guests snaked around the serving line.

But we were all singing that song to ourselves. “It’s going to be stuck in my head all day,” said Ned, one of the stalwart volunteers.

Seemed to me that song offers a pretty good description of what we are all doing there. We’ve all got lights to shine and gifts to offer. What a privilege when we can share them with those whom Jesus might have described as “the least of these.”

Thanksgiving is coming up. Let your light shine.

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