By Rev. Corey Meyer, Director of Mission Partnerships
The people came in short waves over the course of about an hour and a half. Some would come up and say, “No lettuce, please,” or “I would love extra beans today,” and we happily obliged. A few folks requested a smaller portion of the taco salad being served that day; more folks came back for seconds, thirds, and even fourths because taco salad day has become a famous day around Cross-Lines Community Kitchen. At the end of the lunch, nearly 150 people were served on a Monday. The people who came by were construction workers, contract workers, teachers, and the occasional person struggling with being homeless in Kansas City. Each one of them hungry, looking for a lunch-time meal, and luckily knew that Cross-Lines Community Outreach was there every day to serve, to feed, to be a good neighbor.
A group of our staff spent the afternoon at Cross-Lines this week. You may know that one Tuesday a month our church has sponsored “Taco Tuesday” at the Cross-Lines Community Kitchen. We have a wonderful team of dedicated church members who pre-cook the taco meat every month and then join together to serve the community endless plates of delicious lunch. The director of the kitchen contacted us this year saying they had a few open dates, and our staff jumped at the opportunity to come and serve. If you have participated in any service opportunity in the city or around the world, however, you know that when you show up to serve others, it’s truly you that is changed by the experience at the end.
Mid-way through our lunch service to the community, Ed Pasley looked over at Chris Wendelbo and me and said with a smile, “You know, for me, this is church.” To be present in the world with people that our society sometimes overlooks, that the system ignores, is truly our call as people in the Church who want to embody the Love and Grace of God in the world. We couldn’t agree more, that so much about the act of serving is a big part of what it means to be church. To be with our mission partners changing the world one lunch plate at a time, it also reminds me how important it is that we truly take hunger seriously. That a simple plate of taco salad can do something to change the world, as small as it might be.