On my desk is a quote that a close friend attached to a napkin, when Ben and I visited for dinner one night. The evening was lovely, and the friendship we have with these folks is enduring. But the quote, written on construction paper in gold letters, is what remains. It reads, “When all this is over, what will really matter is how we treated each other.”
I look at that quote several times a day. Here we are, about to inaugurate a new President of the United States, standing on the brink of I-don’t-know-what. The complaints being logged by the Southern Poverty Law Center, of racist acts and threats, are mounting and, as many of us know, the towns that Follen serves directly – Lexington and Arlington – are not immune to these threats. How do we treat each other? What is it that really matters?
We’re in the grip of winter. It’s a hard time to not have enough heat, to be homeless, to find yourself or those you know threatened by individuals who toss banana peels, or more, in your driveway, or stick an anonymous note that says “go back to where you came from” on your door. It’s a time for this congregation, and all gathered communities and individuals, to show the ways in which they care about one another. It starts with us.
Here are some thoughts:
- The Lexington Martin Luther King, Jr. Day committee has programs running on Monday.
You don’t even have to travel very far to help – programs are going on in Lexington,
Waltham, and Brighton. See http://www.lexingtonmlk.org/ for more information.
- The Cambridge Many Helping Hands Day of Service is another nearby alternative:
- Lex EAT Together offers a nutritious meal and companionship to anyone interested in participating, on Wednesdays from 5:15 to 6:30 PM at Redeemer Church in Lexington Center. Follen Church is signed up to lead the effort on January 25th and volunteers are needed. Sign up here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0c4baeac29abfb6-follen/
- January is also canned food drive month here at Follen. This week canned tuna is requested; next week peanut butter is on the wish list; the final week of January, canned beans are hoped for. Bring in your cans and place food in the marked containers in the church vestibule.
- Beyond these elements there are opportunities to volunteer with organizations like Birthday Wishes, the Lexington or Waltham Food Pantry, Cradles to Crayons, and other charitable organizations. These places are glad for financial donations if you wish to make them – but there is the opportunity here to connect to people who will be glad for your partnership in changing the world in which we live, for the better.
In the end, “What will really matter is how we treated each other.” Now is the time to consider that question, with your friends, your children, your extended family — to find the things (both great and small) that we each can do to make this little piece of our world a kinder and more loving place.
Deb Weiner, Interim Director of Religious Education