First United Presbyterian Church
“Forgotten Gifts of Grace”
Rev. Mary Newbern-Williams
Recently my beloved cousin, who lives in Anniston, Alabama, and who always exhibits kindness, humility, and love, wrote a beautiful blog about the “Church Kitchen”. This blog reminded us of those committed, dedicated women (men helped then, as they do now) who organized, operated, prepared food, and led the work of the Church Kitchen, to perfection.
Thank you, Dear Carla, for reminding us of those beautiful leaders who were “no nonsense” ladies (and some men were in the mix), whom no children would consider sassing, who prepared meals to grand “deliciousness”, and upon whom all could depend. I thought about the church kitchen of our youth. In Cleveland, Ohio, our mother seemed “synonymous” with the Church Kitchen, Holy Communion (Communion Table, Linens to cover it, even the Bread and Wine), and keeping order among us children and youth. Often, these leaders seemed to be taken for granted. Everyone knew they would be present, accounted for, the work would be completed, and no one left without a full stomach and food to take home. In addition, never did a First Sunday or other Special Occasion take place in which the linens were not starched to perfection, the bread and wine not in place, and never a time occurred in which the pastor’s water glass and pitcher were not full (even with ice!).
How do we give thanks to God for the forgotten gifts of grace? How do we take time to remember, value, and cherish those major blessings in life for which we overlook? In our morning and evening prayers, let us thank God for those events and gifts in life that are so much a part of us that we forget to cherish them as much as major occurrences. In our busy times during the day, let us take just a moment to take ten deep breaths and say a brief prayer of thanksgiving for all of the little things that are so much a part of us that we ignore them. In our resting moments, let us ask God in Christ Jesus to allow our hearts and minds to remain in a spirit of thanksgiving for all blessings, great and small.
Lastly, let us just give thanks for all of the “faceless” people who keep the precision of operating, managing, and organizing a Church Kitchen so that young and elderly can smile with appreciation, especially as we take that beloved bite of fried chicken, eat that last forkful of potato salad, savor a bite of cornbread or a roll, and ask for more collard greens on our plate. Oh yeah, and pies and cakes bring a special smile.
“Thank you, Lord God, for all gifts and blessings, small and large. Help us to appreciate everything in life. Let us take nothing for granted. In Jesus’ Name we pray. AMEN.”
Giving thanks to God for those things that