Today’s Author: Deacon Kari Alice Olsen, Mission Developer and Director of Shobi’s Table

He has come to the aid of his child Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.
Luke 1: 54-55

Mary paints the stage of her prophecy with seed-planting joy, making way for the action of justice that follows suit.  A justice that is rooted in the knowledge that the powerful will be brought down, and the humble will be raised because God has already done so by banishing the ultimate power of death forever.  A justice that feeds the hungry now because God has already provided real food in fields and kitchens on this earth at this moment and on heavenly banquet tables that will last forever.  A justice that can be seen in the seed-like smallness of a tiny baby yet to be born, prophesying the salvation and mercy for all God’s Beloved community, from generation to generation.  

Will all the work we do to make meals at Shobi’s Table do any good?  Oh, yes. With God as the beginning, middle and end of all we do, YES. The cabbage we shred, the beets we chop, the tomatoes we roast, the chicken we braise, the sweets we bake are all seeds of that feast planted today to be reaped again and again. Forever.  

The small gifts we offer to God in serving another are the seeds of faith that God is working a joyous justice that cannot be put in motion by only us only now, but by the hands and hearts of our community, now and forever.  We become the hands through which God is working. We are invited into a justice that is not known by drudgery or heartless duty, but by joy and faith that God is working in and through our small seeds that are becoming a forest of the Kingdom of God. 

Joyfully, we come to the table and give thanks.  We give thanks that we are privileged to sit at the table side-by-side with God’s Beloved, each one righted by God’s judgment that knocks us out of our pride and lifts us up out of our own shame.  A joyous justice that unites us, binding us together to celebrate the promises of God now and forever. 

There is a musical duo called The Bengsons. I highly recommend their album, My Joy is Heavy.  It is a musical story of learning joy through hard things, like loss.  To sum up their story, here is their postlude of the album: 

Your love has seeded the world with delight, 
And created a joy so heavy
It has to be carried by us all
May you walk together across life, 
Death and more life again.

In the work of justice there are often so many times we feel like we’ve lost or will never get anywhere. And yet, when we begin in gratitude – even for the hard things, we find that we are planting seeds. Seeds that we are confident will grow into joy and justice. Seeds that are the promise of a just world, already and not yet. 

Question: What does joy, both like a seed and a heavy weight, mean to you?