This morning, at my church, we held a ribbon cutting ceremony for our new Community Outreach Center. The center is an expansion of the Matthew 25:40 Mission that has been a part of our church’s work in the community. The mission literally grew out of it’s Director’s (Mark Cook) trunk. The Outreach Center will provide a warming center during the day for our community’s homeless population while connecting people in need to the support and services they need.
As part of the church service that preceded the ribbon cutting, the kids participated in a Blessing of the Blankets. Just before Rev. Christana Wille McKnight lead the congregation in the blessing, I got to tell this story:
Once upon a time, on a day very much like today – rainy, windy and cold – there was a dog who didn’t have a place to live. On this rainy, windy, cold day the dog laid down in an alleyway to get a little relief from the weather. Nearby was a pile of yarn that someone had thrown away. The pile of yarn saw the dog and rolled over to it and tried to cover the shivering animal. It meant well and it tried really hard. It helped a bit. The dog felt a little warmer and a little drier and was grateful for the effort. But still, the dog was damp and chilly.
Later that evening, a young woman cut through the alleyway on her way home and saw the dog, covered in yarn, shivering quietly. She picked up the dog, yarn and all, and brought her home. While the dog huddled in the corner of the kitchen, the young woman gathered up all the yarn and brought it to her loom. Turns out the woman was an artist and had a real skill for weaving. Within a few hours she wove that yarn – in and out, left and right – until she had woven a beautiful blanket. When she was finished, she took that blanket to the corner of the kitchen, wrapped up the dog and went to bed.
In the morning, the young woman came down to the kitchen to find that the dog had given birth to 3 adorable puppies. The blanket was now wrapped around the Momma dog and her 3 puppies, keeping the whole family warm.
What makes a blanket different from a pile of yarn is vision, leadership and organization. We must always be grateful to those who share their vision, extend their leadership and bring organization to our pile of efforts. For it is through these gifts that our pile of yarn becomes more beautiful, more durable and more effective.