BEARDEN SHOPPER-NEWS • FEBRUARY 27, 2012 • A-7 Linda Tozer of the Society of St. Andrew, which donated 40,000 pounds of sweet potatoes to various Knoxville area food pantries, helps Mike Smith, president of the Holston Conference United Methodist Men, carry sweet potatoes bagged by volunteers from several different churches. “The fresh produce is a treat for those who usually get just canned or boxed potatoes,” The group quotes from I John 3:18, “Let us love not only in words, but in deed and in truth.” Info: www.endhunger.org/.
Sweet potatoes to feed hungry
Lily Pulver, 4, helps bag sweet potatoes at Cokesbury United Methodist Church. Her family, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Farragut, all volunteered, since they enjoy doing things together. Mom Karen Pulver said, “When Joe Thompson, president of the Oak Ridge United Methodist children get practice helping when they are young, they will Men, receives a trailer-load of sweet potatoes for delivery to Valley help when they grow up.” Photos by T. Edwards of TEPHOTOS.com View Methodist Church for their food pantry, one of many recipients. Nothing is wasted. Produce donated is too large, too small, or otherwise unsuitable to sell to grocery stores. The squishy or heavily gouged potatoes were given to the Knoxville Zoo.
Sunshine and shadow Have mercy on me, O God, According to your steadfast love; According to your abundant mercy Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51: 1-2 NRSV Loss and possession, Death and life are one. There falls no shadow where There shines no sun. – Hilaire Belloc As I write, days ahead of publication, Ash Wednesday is looming. It marks the beginning of Lent, a time of self-examination, repentance, reﬂection and fasting. There are people who dislike Lent and its disciplines, but I am not one of them. Perhaps it is some native melancholy in me that leans into the thorns. I learned pretty young that life has valleys as well as mountaintops, and one had best be prepared to experience them both. I believe that the depths of life, as well as the heights, expand our souls. So I love the somberness of the Ash Wednesday service. I love that the ashes used in the service are traditionally from the burning of last Palm Sunday’s palm branches, a symbolic linking of one Easter cycle to the next. I love the texts that are read (especially David’s psalm of contrition, quoted above), the penitential music, the silences, the acknowledgement of our humanity and our sinfulness. I love that we can be honest with God, that we can admit to God what we know to be true about ourselves. I love the idea that God hears our confession with compassion and forgiveness. I love that God loves us enough not to say, “Oh, that’s
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CROSS CURRENTS OK.” I love that God loves us enough to say “You break my heart, but I love you anyhow.” I love that God keeps trying. And so I keep trying too, to become the person that God envisioned when God thought me up. All of that is tangled up in Ash Wednesday for me. And so, by the time you read this, I will have been to church on Ash Wednesday. I will have knelt and confessed that I am a sinner, saved by grace. I will have received the mark of my sinfulness smudged onto my forehead, and I will have worn it all day as a reminder to myself, and as a confession to everyone who saw me. And if Hilaire Belloc is right at all, that “Death and life are one,” and that sunshine and shadow are inextricably linked, then I will know that it is only because the bright light of God’s love shines on me that the shadow on my forehead – the shadow of my sinfulness – is so visible.
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