Truth be told, I still don't quite understand.
It's my second year in Sedalia and my second time on the Fair Grounds in Sedalia, MO for the Festival of Sharing. Every year hundreds of youth descend on Sedalia and the fairgrounds for a YouthFest where they worship and work sorting items, loading and unloading food and boxes. Every year large, very large, quantities of rice, beans, school kits, backpacks, health kits, quilts and prison kits arrive in Sedalia for sorting and shipping. Every year an untold number of people across the state of Missouri and across the world are impacted by the Festival of Sharing activities.
Doing some research in preparation for the day, the Festival of Sharing website states: "The third Saturday of October is the day that people of faith, from many different denominations all over the state, gather at the Missouri State Fairgrounds, in Sedalia. The groups and families bring money that has been raised and “kits” that have been assembled during the year. Volunteers help to sack rice, beans and potatoes for distribution to Missouri agencies. In the afternoon state agencies bring their trucks and trailers to receive the kits, rice, beans and potatoes to distribute to their clients. Kits, assembled for Church World Service, are loaded on a semi truck to continue their journey to other parts of the world."
The youth and adults from the church I serve in Sedalia gathered at 7:30 a.m. at the fairgrounds for a devotion and donuts. The fall day was crisp and the sun beginning to shine. Trucks already being loaded. Sacks of potatoes being flung.
We each were asked if we could pick up one of the youth by ourselves?
There were attempts.
But it was difficult.
Together we are stronger. Together we can make the work go quicker. Together we can be the Body of Christ.
"Now, let's get to work," said the youth leader.
And work we did.
We sorted and packed and shipped and loaded and laughed along the way. We said prayers for the families and children and prisoners who would receive the kits. We praised God for the gift of life.
Throughout the morning working and witnessing hundreds of youth come together in service, it was hard to understand the full impact this one day would have across the state and across the world. Perhaps I'm not meant to fully understand the Festival. Perhaps in not understanding, I can begin to contemplate the enormity of the need and the enormity of the response of so many youth from across the state of Missouri.
In not understanding I begin to trust that others will help me along the way.
In not understanding I open myself to hearing stories from our neighbors.
In not understanding I keep myself open to the mysteries of a servant God.
Perhaps in not understanding I can simply roll up my sleeves and begin working.
So check out the website - and we'll see you next year!