Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ordinary, but Holy (Part 1)

Inspired by Jen Hatmaker's post, A Broken Hallelujah, our family did something different this Easter. Her words about the last supper and communion challenged me just as they did in her book, Interrupted.

I have always attended churches that take corporate communion about once a month or at least quarterly. Every time, the passage about Jesus at the last supper is read. 
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:19-20)
Every time, it is emphasized that taking communion is what we're doing in remembrance of Him. When I was a child, we even had a wooden communion table with the words, "In remembrance of Me," engraved on the front of it.

But Jen makes the argument that Jesus wants us to be broken and poured out in remembrance of Him. It's sacrificing ourselves, our very lives, in service to Him.

My body, broken for this.

My blood, poured out for this.

(Read her post if you are unconvinced or, better yet, buy her book.)

It resonated with me.

It challenged my thinking and all that is in me welled up in response to the questions she posed:
"Perhaps rather than time and energy spent on ourselves, we ask: 'Who can our family serve? Where can we put our hands and hearts to use in Jesus' name?' Who in your city desperately needs hope but won't find their way to the sanctuary Sunday filled by people dressed to the nines?"
My husband and I prayed about it and went to bed. I woke up the next morning with an idea. It seemed kind of silly, but I thought it was from the Lord. 

What if we made Easter baskets and gave them to the homeless?

I mentioned it to Shawn and he agreed, but the more I thought about it, the sillier it seemed. I worried about what people would think. I realized that our idea could be seen as a misguided attempt to teach our children a lesson while feeling better about ourselves. And I recognized that there is some truth to that. 

I worried about what the homeless themselves would think. "Gee, thanks for the jellybeans, but what I really need is a steady income."

What we were wanting to do wasn't even a band-aid for their problems. For people who have so much stacked against them, who have so many needs, this wouldn't even meet one of them. 

I could feel my passion slipping.

We discussed my idea with the kids. We explained about the last supper and the sacrifice of Jesus. We apologized for letting them think that Easter revolved around getting. We told them that they would still get baskets, but scaled down. All were on board (with the exception of five-year-old Zak, but he came around...eventually.)

I became more confident. 

It occurred to me that people who spend all day, every day just trying to survive might appreciate something extra. If one person remembered a time when they felt loved, it would be worth it. Maybe this wasn't a terrible idea.

Easter dawned cloudy and chilly. 

We spent the morning assembling the Easter baskets in a bag. Each gallon-sized bag contained all the traditional Easter candies, a travel-sized package of wet wipes, and a travel toothbrush and toothpaste. Each kid had a part in the assembly line.

My resolve began to wane, however. How will we even find homeless people? 

It wasn't a legitimate fear. Our oldest daughter had the idea for sixteen random acts of kindness for her sixteenth birthday in November. We had no problems finding homeless to pass out sandwiches to for one of the acts. I was just looking for an excuse to stay home.

We heated and consumed the traditional meal my awesome husband had cooked the day before. Then it was naptime. 

It was starting to feel like a lazy Sunday afternoon and the thought of venturing out seemed less and less appealing. Getting out the door is a major feat in this family and it's difficult to work up energy for the unknown.

I turned to Jesus. 
"Jesus, please forgive me for making this about me. I so want it to be for You. Lead us. Bless our efforts. Help us to see," I sobbed.
We set off. I grabbed a bag of crackers, juice, and Dixie cups, as an afterthought. 

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