Jesus Freak: Feeding Healing Raising the Dead by Sara Miles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Couldn’t put it down. It’s an incredibly well written book. I read her first book and was familiar with her. I also volunteer in a soup kitchen and a food pantry and have lived some of the same journey that she shared. I too see Jesus in the people we serve. Like Sara both the pantry and the soup kitchen are like church. They are definitely a community and they are a huge part of my life. I like Sara too because she is unorthodox and she brings a welcome freshness to holiness and what it means to be holy while remaining wholly human.
Since September I have been volunteering at least one day a week at St. Bonaventure University’s Warming House. My friend Br. Kevin Kriso, OFM recommended it as an activity I might like as I transitioned into retirement. Unsure of myself at first in the new surroundings and lacking confidence in my culinary skills I decided that I could best help by washing dishes. Dinner for twenty to thirty people provides along with the cooking pots and utensils to feed them provides enough to keep one busy in the dishwater. The young ladies who serve as Meal Coordinators invited me to make desserts. At first I was hesitant even though I used to bake with my Grandmother when I was a child. No-bake cheesecake, muffins, apple sauce bread, apple crisp and more have made me more confident in the kitchen. Yesterday, Arielle suggested that I could make pumpkin cake and provided me with a list of the ingredients. Two cups of margarine melted, four cups of flour, three and half cups of sugar, four eggs and more along with plenty of stirring resulted in a delicious dessert. Arielle’s delicious turkey soup and fresh chocolate pudding made for an appetizing meal.
The Warming House is the oldest student run soup kitchen in the United States. Meals served there surpass anything I have seen or tasted in other such kitchens. The patrons who come each day bring forth the best in all of us. I am impressed with the cooking skills of the coordinators too. Each day they put together a tasty meal from what they find on the shelves of the storeroom and cooler. But, the Warming House is more than food. It is an community of people, young and old who come together for the common good. It is at its heart very Franciscan and emblematic of the Incarnation itself. It is tangible evidence of the goodness that resides in the hearts of all creation. Those who serve are served by those who come to eat. I am grateful to be a participant in this wonderful experience of love.
In the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself volunteering at The Warming House. It’s a soup kitchen in downtown Olean, New York run by University Ministries of St. Bonaventure University. As a recently retired person I’ve found ample opportunity and time to help brothers and sisters who come to dinner each day. Some I know, while others are strangers. The Warming House is staffed by students and folks like me. Food is donated by the local community and provided free to our guests who find their way each day to our door. A half dozen years ago I had the chance to volunteer at St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia, PA. The Warming House is not on the scale of St. Francis Inn, but it provides all who come there as hosts or guests with an opportunity to share a meal and some love. I’m grateful to the University and it’s ministry that has provided this blessing in my life.
I noticed that when driving on the New York State Thruway that driver’s were actually obeying the speed limit. Even the big trucks were slowed down. I normally get passed a lot and this time it didn’t happen much. Despite what the pundits and our nincompoop President have said Americans can’t take much more and are changing their driving habits. An article in the New York Times highlights these changes.
Stung by rising gasoline and food prices, Americans are finding creative ways to cut costs on routine items like groceries and clothing, forcing retailers, restaurants and manufacturers to decode the tastes of a suddenly thrifty public.