Wednesday of this week was the last full day that the team of women from the UPAVIM Cooperative in Guatemala City were going to be with us. They had shared with us in worship and Bible study; visiting a local public school, transition school, and shelter; serving at the People’s Resource Center; touring Downers Grove and downtown Chicago; and then, on their last evening with us, they were going to work with the Wednesday evening Fellowship Dinner cooking crew to create an authentic Guatemalan meal for the church to share.
I knew that homemade tortillas, unlike anything I’d had in Illinois, were going to be part of the meal, and after I heard UPAVIM team member Carmen describe them, they were in the back of my mind all day.
When suppertime came, I enjoyed the special chicken dish, and the rice mixture, and – a warm, freshly made tortilla, soft and hearty, and discovered it was every bit as good and satisfying as promised.
And then – then came an invitation in the middle of our meal to come to a table in the gym and learn how to make those tortillas ourselves. Carmen was giving hands-on lessons. In moments, a cluster of children, and some adults, too, gathered around the table to learn.
I stayed in my chair. Why did I do that? I had some inner excuse about needing to make a Conference call in 20 minutes and not wanting to get dough remnants on the phone. But while I was making excuses, the adult next to me went to the table and came back with a tortilla, an experience (“you have to move it back and forth from one hand to another, otherwise its will stick to your skin”), and a memory of bonding for a few moments with someone whose home is in a whole different part of the world. And a child from the table behind me practically danced back holding in her hands a remarkable, edible creation – a really perfect looking tortilla and the joy of a new achievement. Obviously, they received even more in those moments than I had – by taking the small risk to try a new opportunity that was available to them.
This Sunday is Thanksgiving Sunday, and our scripture, a parable of Jesus, tells about three servants, all of whom had received much from their householder. However, two of the servants made the effort to use their abundance to try to create even more for their householder, while one servant just buried the gift in the ground – and made lots of excuses for doing so. This parable, found in Matthew 25:14-30, encourages us to take a deeper look at what we’ve received, and to dare to imagine the ways our abundance can be multiplied for others. We’ll celebrate God’s gifts in word and song in our worship services this Sunday, and let the scripture remind us to See What We’ve Been Given.