As Way Opens
New black socks are the best. The first time you put them on they conform to your feet. They seem to make your shoes fit better. They have a softness that somehow gets washed out over time.
I think the sock industry has a secret weapon...extra fuzzies. Like the crunchy fried pieces that come along with fish and chips (neither fish nor potato), socks have their own extra goodness.
How do I know…because when I take a shower after wearing my new black socks for the first time, I find the tub floor covered with wet black fuzzies. Sometimes so many fuzzies that it seems the socks have given away part of themselves – as if they are involved in some sacrificial first wearing ceremony.
When I was little, I remember my mom looking between my toes for what she properly called “toe jam.” I knew this jam was never going to end up on my toast. She faithfully cleaned it out because, as a 4 yr. old, I could care less if it was even there. For some reason she cared – much like my grandma who always seemed concerned about holes in my underwear – what was their issue anyway? Geez!
Toe Jam and sock fuzzies are so petty compared to what Jesus was washing off his disciple’s feet before his last supper with them. The disciples were journeymen. Their feet had much more caked on them than just fuzzies. Their socks were simply a coating of sweat, dust, animal dung, human waste, and anything else thrown out on those famous Roman roads.
Talk about being concerned about “toe jam.” No wonder mothers are so anxious these days; the concern was passed down to them through a long succession of uneasy mothers wondering what their child was packing between their toes.
I can hear those fishermen-disciples talking about the stench coming from their feet. “Hey, dung feet, can you put those things away?” “Can’t you watch where you are stepping, I think you walked through the contents of the bucket John dumped out the window after last night’s Passover meal.” “I think Jesus sent those demons into your little piggies.”
This was no fun job – 12 grown men trying to pull it together for one last supper. And where was Jesus? There he was at the door, bent over, with towel at his waist, and a trough of water, ready to begin the daunting task of scrubbing these disgusting feet.
This wasn’t mom searching for toe jam before bed. This wasn’t a quick shower to release the black fuzzies from one’s toes after wearing a new pair of socks. This was a much greater ordeal.
Actually, this was servanthood – helping and caring with a humility and a love that wants to serve others unselfishly.
I imagine as Jesus moved through each of the disciples he went through several towels, the floor must have been covered with disgusting muck puddles, and the water in the trough had to have been changed frequently. It must have looked like a car wash after a Jeep Wrangler mudding event.
Jesus was probably a bit exhausted when he was done, and probably needed his own bath, as his clothing must have been covered in a myriad of guck and nastiness. Yet it was a picture for us of what the life of a Christ follower looks like.
Jesus said in Matthew 20:26, “If anyone wants to be great, he must be the servant of the rest.” That sounds nice…let me check for toe jam or fuzzies. No, that’s not the picture Jesus was painting us. Let’s get down and dirty...saturated with the excrement and dirt of this world. That takes putting aside our desires, our wanting to be great or right, and learning to serve our neighbor – even if they are planning to betray us.
Are we simply checking for toe jam or really scrubbing the feet of our neighbors?
“If anyone wants to be great, he must be the servant of the rest, and if one of you wants to be first, he must be your slave – like the Son of Man who did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.” - Matthew 20:26
Grace and peace,
Joys & Concerns
We had a wonderful unprogrammed memorial service for Helen D. It was amazing sharing memories of Helen among family and Friends. What an expansive and incredible life she led. If you missed the service and would like to listen, you can download the recording from the password-protected private portal on our website. Just visit https://www.indyfriends.org/private. If you need the password, please call the office at 317-255-2485.
Saturday, June 8 was a fun day as First Friends enjoyed the Indy Pride Parade! (Photos by Bob H. To see more, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/indyfriends!)
What a great morning we had this past Sunday celebrating our Friends Educational Fund Scholarship recipients! Congratulations! (thank you to Carl B & Bob H for photos)
Affirmation Students leave tomorrow, June 27th, for Philadelphia! Krishan C, Sam and Lewis H, Lucy K, Kwali T, and Erin T will be traveling with adult sponsors: Beth H, Bob and Sue H, and Aaron T. Please hold the group in the Light and ask for safe travels as we make the drive to Pennsylvannia. The students will tour several Quaker historic sites including Arch St. Meeting House, Freedom Hall, the Liberty Bell, William Penn’s home, among other historic sites of our country. Thank you to everyone who donated and supported our efforts, you made this trip possible!
Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL) - Want a chance to meet with politicians who might actually listen? Come join us at IFCL's monthly meeting on Saturday, July 13 at 9:00 a.m. at First Friends. IFCL is presenting its annual Legislators of the Year Award to Representative Carey Hamilton and Senator John Ruckelshaus. Both honorees will be present to accept, and we look forward to some discussion with them on ways we might work together on specific issues next year. Let's show our appreciation for legislators willing to work across party lines for the common good. All are welcome. See Phil Goodchild (firstname.lastname@example.org; 317-790-9054) or Ed Morris (email@example.com) with any questions. Thank you.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Stewardship: Water Conservation! All this rain is a reminder of water flowing to our streams and rivers. This is a handy guide about the things you can be doing in your own yards to keep our water clean to drink, play, fish and swim in. http://ourwaterways.org/resources/homeownerguide/
Soup & Service ~ You are invited to join our First Friends community for our second Soup & Service event immediately after Meeting for Worship on Sunday, June 30. This informal luncheon will “kick off” First Friends’ annual campaign to raise funds for the 2019 WYM and 2019 FUM mission projects.
The WYM project is "Education for Esther" and involves child education for girls among the Samburu and Turkana people groups in Kenya. The FUM project is "Everyone Welcome" and involves raising money for physical improvements for special needs kids at the Ramallah Friends School. You can expect to learn more about these worthy projects during the luncheon from representatives of WYM and FUM. Since we are approaching summer, salads, rather than soups, will be served. You are invited to bring a dessert to share, but it is not necessary. Please plan to attend.
The Overman Family Scholarship, in memory of Jess and Mark Overman, is available again this year. High school seniors through graduate students are welcome to apply. Undergraduate students will be given first consideration. The scholarship fund is designated to support the members and attenders of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting. Scholarship funds may be applied to any school related expense, i.e. books, supplies, tuition, housing, computer, etc. The deadline for application will be June 30th, 2019. For an application please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up NOW for VBS! Registration is now open for Vacation Bible School this summer! This year’s theme is “Roar! Life is Wild, God is Good!” We will kick off on Sunday, July 14 from 12-2pm after worship and then have daily sessions the following Monday through Thursday evenings from 6:30-8:30. Registration forms can be found on the corner table in the hallway. The registration deadline is July 1st! If you have any questions, please contact the office at email@example.com
Our Community Garden looks like a jewelry box with its luxurious green studded raised beds rising from a beautifully manicured lawn (thanks again to Ben’s indefatigable gift of mowing).
Fur may not always deter chipmunks given our finding of a cozy nest artfully fashioned from rabbit fur and dried grasses. It was in one of our plots and filled with baby chipmunks!!! Get out the next line of defense because the babies are growing fast. Try spraying cayenne pepper spray on your crops to ward off hungry critters. Rotten egg spray can be effective but can inadvertently attract dogs. Substances must be reapplied frequently—especially after rain. Excellent commercial organic repellents are available. Customize strategies for specific pests.
Sam found an orange and black swamp milkweed leaf beetle. It eats many types of pest bugs but seems harmless to crops since it prefers milkweed plants. Let it be.
The food pantry plot’s first donation of greens are ready to ship out to Mid-North Food Pantry. It is a delectable and tasty-looking start.
SAWs Ramp Build ~ The Shalom Zone is planning another SAWS ramp build for the morning of Saturday, July 27. SAWS is an organization that builds ramps for low income folks who need a ramp to enter/exit their homes. If you would like to volunteer to help or need more information, please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Since we need to plan the work crews from among the Shalom Zone churches, let us know as soon as you are able that you plan to assist. Volunteers must complete the volunteer form before their first build. This form can be found on the SAWS website: www.sawsramps.org.
Would you like to help the library? The library committee is currently looking for new members! Responsibilities include occasional upkeep, organization and management of our library. If you’re interested in joining the committee, please contact the office at email@example.com or 317-255-2485.
Are you able to help a student? An Earlham student is looking for a host family here in the Indianapolis area. Her name is Caitlin and she will be working on a research project at the University of Indianapolis for 7 weeks. She will need housing June 25 through August 16. She has her own transportation and will just need a place to stay. If you or anyone you know can help Caitlin, please reach out to the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-255-2485.
Registration Open! First Friends Women’s Retreat ~ All women are invited to join us for our Women’s Retreat on September 20th - 22nd 2019. The retreat will be held at the Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center in Beech Grove. We will begin at 5:00 p.m. on Friday with dinner and gathering to learn about the Enneagram personality types. On Saturday we will continue our exploration of the Enneagram personality types, explore our types and what that means in our lives. We will work together on creating t-shirt shopping bags for the Mid North Food Pantry, have a nature walk in the Center’s peace garden led by two of the Sisters and watch a movie together. We will share meals and snacks together all day. On Sunday we will worship together in the center’s chapel and then head home.
The retreat will be facilitated by Beth Booram. Beth is the co-founder and director of Fall Creek Abbey, an urban retreat center in Indianapolis, where she co-facilitates The School of Spiritual Direction and offers individual and group spiritual direction. Prior to this vocation, Beth was a contract consultant with the Center for Congregations. She describes herself as a “deep feeler who loves to think; an extrovert with a penchant for solitude; an artist who sees the hand of God in even the smallest encounters with creation.” Beth has authored several books including When Faith Becomes Sight (with her husband, David) and Starting Something New. She also co-authored Awaken Your Senses with Quaker author, J. Brent Bill.
We are asking attendees to read The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile before the retreat if possible. If you would like us to get the book for you ($14), please contact the office.
The cost of the retreat per person ranges from $103-$184 depending on the type of room and bath. To reserve your spot for the retreat, please contact the office at email@example.com. Payment is not due until August.
Scholarships are available—please contact the office to inquire about scholarships.
Calling all ice cream lovers! First Friends will be working at the Dairy Bar at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday, August 10th all day. This is a major fundraiser for our youth programming. We plan to have two shifts, 9:00am-3:30pm, and 3:30-10:30pm. It is fast paced but lots of fun! Volunteers will receive a free ticket to the State Fair for that day, as well as unlimited ice cream, shakes and cheese sandwiches. Please let the office (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you’re interested in volunteering!
This Week’s Queries
What am I doing to “fix” the problems around me?
Where do I need to raise my hand?
Where do I need to transform my seeing into action?