Easter Dinner happened May 19th, a couple of weeks after the event . The delay is typical for us, so our folks can enjoy a special meal after the other agencies have held their own event meals days running – sometimes there will be two turkey dinners on the same day!
Maybe one hundred and fifty at two seatings – it all went smoothly. There were many volunteers, great service, greater interaction with our street friends, and seconds of meals and desserts for all who were interested.
Let me highlight one key interaction that was both powerful and profound. There are two young men, maybe 11 and 12 years old, who have been volunteering at our special dinners for several years. They came with both parents this year, and are both comfortable and capable in their service at the dinner.
I was talking with one of our guests, Bill, after the dinner when our two young volunteers walked by, preparing to depart with mom and dad. I stopped to speak with them and asked them how their day went. Fine, they affirmed. I asked if they had opportunity to visit with any of our street friends, and they said they did not have that chance. I thanked them for coming.
Just then Bill, who had overheard our conversation, joined the conversation and had some specific words of encouragement that he delivered to the two boys. He commended them and their parents for coming out to volunteer and help serve the meal. It was very special to have young people learn how to serve others at an early age he said, and it really meant a lot to him (particularly) and to all the guests (generally) to know that others cared. He spoke sincere words of appreciation and thanks to the young men, and again thanked them for caring.
I could sense Bill’s words carried a great deal of weight as the boys looked up and eagerly listened to this ‘rounder’ (been around a long time) as he expressed his gratitude. It was very real and genuine, and the boys could sense his sincerity. Although the conversation lasted only a few moments, it will be a conversation that the boys may never forget.
It is also typical of volunteers’ interactions with our street friends: no matter how convinced volunteers are that they come to encourage, minister and help, they learn quickly that they are often the recipients of the encouragement, ministry and blessing.
I think it is a principle of the Kingdom. A reversal of the world’s values and expectations. The greatest will be the least, the servant will be the master.
Happy Easter – every day!