I am among those called to lead people in confessing sin and announcing God's forgiveness in the Sunday liturgy, an essential action never altogether free from the threat of routinized going-through-the-motions. This action is anything but routine, however, when it occurs in the setting I described in my lectionary column for the Century on this week's Gospel lesson.
On the way to meet a friend whose marriage, I'd heard, was on the rocks, I sifted through the clichés one can offer someone on the verge of divorce. But when I arrived, her husband was with her to welcome me. As we traveled around her campus together I noticed them holding hands (so rare on U.S. college campuses that you wonder if it violates some regulation).
Jessica McClard got the idea for the Little Free Pantry from seeing Little Free Libraries in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she lives. She received a microgrant through Thrivent Financial to build a small cupboard mounted on a post to hold food items, toiletries, and paper goods to which people may help themselves. The small food pantry was placed outside Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Fayetteville. “Peanut butter and jelly, feminine hygiene products, and diapers are in demand,” McClard said, noting that garden vegetables go quickly as well. She has a Facebook page devoted to the pantry concept and is encouraging others to build their own (Huffington Post, July 29).