(Sabbath Blog #19)
Our church has a ministry that we call RACK, which stands for Random Acts of Christian Kindness. Our regular Lord’s Supper observances fall on the third Sunday of January, March, May, July, September, and November. On the following Saturdays we hold our RACK days. Bob Walker, our Minister of Worship and Outreach, coordinates the ministry. Yesterday was a RACK day. Some of us went to a convenience store and cleaned customers’ windshields; some of us went to an outdoor market in downtown Augusta and gave away ice cream bars; some of us drove around our community giving cold drinks to people who were doing yard work; and others of us went to a local coin laundry armed with quarters to feed into the washers and dryers for folks.
We tell people that we just want to share the love of God with them in those simple ways. It’s a little bit of grace, I guess, since we are giving without asking for anything in return. We talk about it this way: when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper we are receiving the Body of Christ; then we go out into the community to be the Body of Christ.
Yesterday, Fred and Ann Gunter went to the laundromat. Fred and Ann are retired, she from teaching and he from the staff of our church. A lady was there with her grandson and she had a lot of dirty clothes. Fred and Ann offered to put money in the machines for her. She gladly accepted and said, “When I prayed this morning I told the Lord that I didn’t know if I had enough money to wash all these clothes. I told him I’d just have to trust him.” Then she said to her three-year old grandson, “See what I told you? You just never know what the Lord is going to do!” By the way, we had carried out this ministry at laundromats before but this was the first time that we had gone to that particular one.
When Fred and Ann told that story, it brought to mind one that I heard the writer Brett Lott tell a couple of years ago at the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. Lott, who teaches Creative Writing at LSU and who is probably best known for his novel Jewel, had gone on a mission trip with a group from his church. The group was going to conduct a camp for children. One of the activities they planned to do involved tie-dying t-shirts. They had taken what they believed would be, based on the advance information they had received, plenty of white shirts. When they arrived and counted children, they were short over thirty t-shirts. Lott said there was nothing they could do; there was nowhere in the region where they could purchase white t-shirts. There was nothing they could do but pray.
When they got ready to tie-dye the t-shirts, they had exactly the number they needed.
Lott said that he couldn’t explain it; he could only tell us what happened.
I know that such talk is not sophisticated. I know that many of us think that prayer doesn’t work that way.
But I for one have not yet lost my naiveté and I hope that I never do.