I don’t suppose my household would actually go naked or hungry were I to suddenly expire. But, on Saturdays — when everyone and all their stuff is home and strewn about, the laundry chute is full, meals seem to be needed one right after another, appointments need to be kept and I am the mom in the middle of a family ranging from mid teens to early 90s and full of oft-conflicting needs — I despair they might.
On the inside, I make the same face that comedian Carol Burnett used to express annoyance when she was playing the character Eunice. (Sometimes I practice this look — pictured above — in the mirror when I’m putting on moisturizer. This probably cancels out any beneficial effect of such stuff.) On the outside, I have a tendency to make more noise than necessary with cabinet doors and pots and pans. (Quite satisfying.)
So, it wasn’t a surprise that when I visited a vespers-type of service at a small chapel that’s a short walk from our home one recent evening that I was alone and happy to be so. This Saturday had been an especially long and grueling one.
What was a surprise was an arresting point in the liturgy — unfamiliar enough to me given that I’m from a more contemporary faith tradition that I listen to every word. It mentioned feeding the hungry and my mind made the leap to the rest of Jesus’s discourse in Matthew 25 on some of the signs of real Christianity.
Feeding the hungry is in there. As is clothing the naked.
Touché, God, I silently acknowledged. A smile formed under my mask. God is way funnier than most non-churchgoers probably think.
The truth is that the naked and hungry most in need of my help at the moment aren’t in another country or even at a polite distance in another part of town. They are in my house. Lord, help me.
He did, of course. And, I went home and did what needed to be done like I was doing it for Jesus Himself. Then. The holidays may require fresh scripture.