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Yes, you read that right, folks. One five, one comma, and three zeros. We recently had our annual church picnic in beautiful
and our priest’s homemade
Hummingbird cake with cream cheese frosting sold for a whopping $5,000 in the
live auction. Inez,
What?! Was the cake filled with diamonds and gold? Were there priceless gems placed neatly on top? Did the cake possibly come with a giant, ultra HD flat screen TV? Nope, nope, and nope.
It was a simple round cake made with flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, eggs, oil, cinnamon, some vanilla, pecans, bananas, and pineapple. How could that be worth $5,000 you ask? Well, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t really about the cake at all. I’m certain it was deliciously delectable, but what it was about was community. It was about a community coming together. It was about the generosity of its parishioners and friends. It was about the support and love for our faith and for the shepherd who is leading the people at
Catholic Church. St. Joseph
Year after year, I am in awe of and admire the dedication of this small community. With a population of around 2,700, Inez is a tiny dot on the map. But, you’ve heard the story of the mustard seed, right? Tiny can be mighty.
With about 150 families in our parish, I am almost speechless (that rarely happens for me – heh!) at what was accomplished last weekend. The final numbers aren’t in, but I’m taking a wild guess that we raised around $100,000. Whoa.
The amount of money raised is a true blessing, but what impressed me the most was how everyone worked together like a well-oiled machine. Every area had a chairperson and countless eager workers. And, when I mean every area, I mean that there was a chairperson over each and every item of mouth-watering food found on the plates we served (barbeque, sausage, fried chicken, potatoes, green beans, dessert, and tea). (Oh, that was the best eight bucks I’ve ever spent! Mmmmm. I’ve never seen a kitchen run smoother either. I need to see if they’ll come over to my house!)
We had to-go plates, a cake walk, kids’ games, two raffles, both a live and silent auction, a country store with homemade everything, card games, and amazing music by D’Vine Testament. I’m still on a high from absorbing all of the smiles that radiated from the people who entered those doors. The laughter that echoed through the hall still resonates in my ears. Honestly, if you want to know the truth, I think it was the largest family reunion on this side of Highway 59. We never have traffic jams in Inez…that is, until church picnic day rolls around each September.
Of course, the picnic day itself impresses me, but the weeks and days leading up to it do too. Have you ever fried 4,096 pieces of chicken? Me neither. Have you ever tried to prepare 1,386 pounds of brisket and 350 pounds of sausage at one time? I know I haven’t. What about potatoes and green beans? Sometimes I fret over peeling spuds for our family of five. I can’t imagine preparing 750 pounds of potatoes and 720 pounds of green beans in order to feed 2,000 people! (Yes, that’s how many we served!) Don’t get me started on the quantity of pies and cakes or the gallons of tea and barbeque sauce! (Mmmm – actually, a pair of my clothes still smell like bacon and onions from Saturday. I refuse to wash the aroma away – hee hee!)
Hours and hours of preparation and many sleepless nights were needed to make it all happen. A great deal of sacrifice and love is poured into an event such as this. The love is tangible and I felt it. I saw it. I heard it. I touched it. I smelled it. I tasted it. One of the chairpersons told me today, “It is an immense amount of work, I will not lie, but it is all worth it for the church!” Awesome.
What about parking, you ask? How in the world do you park that many cars without mass chaos? Well, get this…the fantastic fellas at our Inez Volunteer Fire Department help with that. Then, in return, the awesome guys at our church help to park cars at the VFD fundraiser the following weekend. Teamwork. It’s a beautiful “thang” peeps!
When God’s people work together, nothing is impossible. I don’t know about you, but the thought of that takes my very breath away. Nothing is impossible with God. (Matthew 19:26)
The beauty, goodness, and love of God were so powerfully present for me during our church picnic. I felt His presence there among the people. I saw it in their eyes that day. I felt it in their movements in the days preceding it as they ran from here to there to make it all come together. Some of the simplest things of this world can reveal God if we open our eyes to seeing it.
The world is full of signs of God’s presence. God tells us what we need to hear through the bits and pieces of our day-to-day. It is ongoing. We can be changed by letting God work in and through us. I often pray, “Use me as an instrument.” He listens. Many times, I don’t feel that I’m ready for a certain task, but I know that He will equip me before He asks of me.
So, I’m thrilled that Father’s cake sold for $5,000 and I’m glad it didn’t have diamonds and gold inside. It didn’t need to. Father Bentil could have had a tiny morsel of chocolate in his hand and it would have sold for just the same. Why? Because the amazing people of our community came together and donated generously of their time, their talents, and their treasure, all for the glory of God. They gave of themselves in so many different ways in order for us to catch a glimpse of Jesus’ love for us. And, for this…I am grateful.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who helped make our picnic such a smashing success. Each one of you made it possible. The behind-the-scenes was just as impressive and inspirational as the event. Thank you, friends and family, for coming out in the rain to support our picnic. Thank you, Lord, for your abundant blessings. God is good…all the time. All the time…God is good.