By Rev. Joe Walker
I have one pair of “I Heart KC – Red and Yellow” socks from our very own local entrepreneurs, SOCK101. Other than that, all my socks are black and cotton. Oh, and boring. But they are clean and when they wear out I recycle the cotton and buy some new socks.
It occurs to me that when I put my socks on in the morning, I should say a prayer of gratitude because I have clean, boring socks. And, I should pause to remember all the people in our city who do not have clean, boring socks to wear that day.
You may remember that last Christmas we donated 800 pairs of socks to our friends at Independence Boulevard Christian Church’s Micah Ministry. I think most of the socks were white tube socks; still boring but at least they were clean and new. Each pair was filled with travel-sized toiletries – soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, etc. – and tied with a festive ribbon.
I hope you will buy a pair of socks (or a few pair) and fill them for this year’s collection. I invite you to experience filling the socks as a guided prayer meditation.
As you roll the first sock to stuff it inside the second one which will house all the items, imagine the person who will receive the socks. Are they homeless? What do they look like? By the way, the average age of a homeless person in Kansas City is 7 years old. That’s right, a second grader.
Carefully put the soap and shampoo in the sock and imagine that you are placing the items in the recipient’s hands. Soap and shampoo seem so domestic, so mundane, yet for a person working at a job that pays less than a living wage, basic personal care items may be a luxury beyond their means.
Add the lip balm and hand lotion to the sock and let a gentle word come to your mind and fill your heart. Softly say the word aloud as if you are speaking to this new acquaintance. The word repairs some of the harshness experienced by those who suffer in poverty.
Now tie the sock closed. Over, under, around, through – the ribbon flowing with your fingers and creating a bow. Let the action become a gesture tying the two of you together in your shared humanity. Recognize this bow – and every bow this holiday season – as a symbol of your commitment to care for those in need and address the root causes of poverty. Amen.