Gifts in the Moment
Today I spent a few hours working with an organization called Gifts in the Moment. Gifts in the Moment is focused on bringing healthy, accessible produce to the Peoria, IL. They work to provide “Healthy Access Initiatives” which seek to further the mission of improving access to fresh produce and enabling the community to better understand how and why to partake.
A few weeks ago, I met with two amazing women from the organization who told me about where and why this project got started. I, in turn, told them my own connection to food justice related projects and the way that God has shown me over the last 8-9 months that food justice is not only important to me, but will play a role in my future ministry. I told them that not only did I want to learn about what they were doing in Peoria and the way they make it all happen, but to also build connections between their organization and the church I am interning at this summer. Plus, I was really looking to get some time in the gardens during my tenure in the community.
They were more than willing to put me to work, and to work with me and the church as much as they were able. They said they got together to wash veggies every Tuesday that will then go out in their Mobile Food Van for the CSA and that I would be welcome to come help out anytime. Today I was finally able to take them up on that offer.
It. Was. Glorious.
I spent three hours washing onions and green beans and potatoes. I didn’t talk much to the other volunteers, because, believe it or not, I am actually fairly shy around new people, but I spent that time praying over those vegetables. Now, maybe that sounds a little funny, praying over vegetables. It felt a little odd at first, I’ll admit, but I felt God asking me to pray, so I did. The prayers I uttered went something like this:
Lord, bless this potato/onion/bean. Bless the belly that it lands in. Bless the life that it will nurture and sustain. Lord, in your mysterious ways, use this potato/onion/bean to further your kingdom. Use it to draw your children into relationships with you and with each other, Lord. Amen.
I could feel God calling me to pray for his children, for the ways that this food would shape their lives and their communities, for this organization’s continued ability to help change the way that the people in Peoria interact with food. I hope that my prayers make an impact, but even if they do not change the world, it felt good to hold the people of Peoria and the food that will help nourish their bodies in prayer, because, in doing so, I held them in my heart.
I encourage you to get involved in a community garden or a food justice initiative in your city. I also encourage you to pray over the food that will impact that people in your area. Not only can it have real effects in the lives of others, but I guarantee that it will impact the way you interact with your neighborhood and community. When you pray for something, you are truly loving it. So go, love your neighbors.