Several months ago, someone from the United Methodist communications office emailed me to see if I could blog about the Methodist “Imagine No Malaria” campaign. She gave me statistics about how many kids in Africa die from malaria each year and tried to make a case for it being an important enough issue for me to write about. To my discredit, I didn’t take her up on the offer. Why? Because campaigns against malaria and the other quiet, methodical ways that God’s people change the world aren’t sexy enough. They just don’t get blog hits the way that scandals do! But this weekend, Methodist churches around the world will be doing a coordinated missions push called Change the World in which the world will be changed through hundreds of thousands of humble, unglamorous acts of Christian servanthood, even if people like me aren’t paying attention because we’re wrapped up in our favorite scandals.
I guess I just needed to call myself out for being a hypocrite with how angry I get that our national media destroys our democracy by fixating on scandals to the exclusion of any intelligent policy conversation. Guess I’m the same way. I don’t understand why the latest imbecilic statement from my favorite Seattle megachurch pastor gets my blood pumping more than wholesome stories about people helping other people. But I don’t think I’m the only one. It’s part of the deformity we’ve received from our information age.
In any case, our congregation has a bunch of unglamorous but very useful mission projects that we’re doing for Change the World. Every year, we pack up thousands of dehydrated meals to send to Africa. We also collect items for school and birthing kits and put them together to send to the Global South. This year, I’m very excited because for the first time, we’re doing a project with our community garden we started two summers ago.
The bed on the left is dill and the bed on the right is cilantro. Those are our spring crops. We will be harvesting them and planting some summer crops like tomatoes and cucumbers this Saturday. Then we will take the dill and cilantro to the Robinson Square subsidized housing community in nearby Fairfax where a bunch of families from all over the world live. Places like Pakistan, Vietnam, Somalia, etc. I’m hoping that having herbs to cook with will be a nice treat for them.
Oftentimes when we share free food with people who need help, it’s cans of beanie weanie or spam and things like that we would never eat in our own homes. So I had a sense that our immigrant brothers and sisters at Robinson Square probably wouldn’t get a lot of dill or cilantro if they’re having to utilize the local food banks. I think God not only wants them to have food, but to be able to cook tasty food.
It’s not anything all that revolutionary or glamorous, but there’s a freaking boatload of dill in that bed. We may have to dry it and grind it into powder before we deliver it because it’s going to take up a lot of space otherwise. Will several pounds of dill leaves bring an end to world hunger? No. Will it cause the Palestinians and Israelis to make peace with one another? Not a chance. But it might bring a smile to a woman from east Africa when she gets to cook with it. And that changes the world.