Abundance (noun) – a very large quantity of something; plentifulness of the good things of life
Growing up in the suburbs outside of Baltimore, I had never really been exposed to the city, city driving, or city parking in the same capacity as I am during my time here this summer. I was more anxious than I would’ve liked to admit about taking on the city, but after just a few weeks I know that God called me here for a reason. As cheesy and cliché as that may sound, interning at The Center was where I needed to be this summer; I am growing and learning, experiencing the intricate and intimate details of my vocation, and immersing myself in mission like I’ve never immersed myself before.
Last week, I got to immerse myself in mission with Union Church of Hinsdale (UCC) outside Chicago, Illinois and Westminster Presbyterian Church from Austin, Texas. Mel and I joined these incredible groups as we served alongside the community of Amazing Grace Lutheran Church. Together we learned about their story, their congregation, their programs, their mission, and the Amazing Port Street Garden. But something that I personally learned about was abundance.
During one of our debriefs early in the week, we asked members of the group to share with us a word or phrase that exemplified their experience with the week so far. Honestly, I don’t remember what my word was, but someone from the group used “abundance” and that really stuck with me.
One of our projects at Amazing Grace was to pick cherries from the beautiful cherry tree in the garden, which would then be pitted and used for baking. While we were picking, standing on ladders and step-ladders, we filled so many bowls with cherries (like a lot!). Every time we thought we were done with a section on the tree, we’d look again, and it was as if magically more cherries would appear, hiding under leaves and glistening in the sun. There was definitely no shortage of cherries from that tree.
On Friday, we served with Rockrose City Farm, learning about their story and mission. Though we only spent a few hours with them, I could see how abundance described their ministry as well. We spent our time weeding plots so that sweet potatoes could be planted. Every year, Rockrose City Farm plants an abundance of sweet potatoes that are then harvested at the end of the summer and donated to food pantries, such as the one run by Amazing Grace, because the sweet potato is a universal vegetable and most cultures have a dish that uses them.
When I started my internship at The Center this summer, I didn’t know what to expect, and I sure didn’t expect the abundance I have quickly been welcomes into. I didn’t expect the abundance of cherries or sweet potatoes, but I also didn’t expect the abundance of love and support I have seen in the communities and felt from the communities. Growing up 30 minutes outside of Baltimore, this world is completely different than the one I am used to, but there is comfort in bearing witness to the abundance of God’s Love at work in this city and in seeing God’s Mission being carried out by the amazing and beautiful people here. There is comfort in discovering the abundance of cherries in the world.
-Emma Kate, Center Intern