Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Holy Days

Picture by Eric Pouhier

I wrote the following poem after volunteering at a soup kitchen one holiday season. I was chapter president of a honors organization, so it was my duty to set up community service projects for us. When I called to see if we could help, they said a church group had already volunteered and didn't want to share duties during that time. I explained that we would be happy to help in any way that we could, so they agreed and we met them there one night. We were told we weren't welcome, that they were the ones who wanted to help because it made their church look good. We were assigned clean up duty and were fine with that, but I was awestruck by the irony--here they were, supposed to be helping people, but they were doing it for all the wrong reasons. They wanted only to be commended and felt nothing for the people--the ones they were supposed to be helping. They called themselves Christians yet they only wanted their names in the paper, in their church bulletin, and did not even attempt to go sit and talk with the homeless families (including children) and see if there was any other way of helping. I felt disappointed and disillusioned.

Holy Days

The leaves have fallen
The wind is brisk and cold
Yet sweet are the sounds
Of the children's songs
Of the holiest child of all
    It is a time of joy
         Of feasting with our friends
              Let it last forever.

As the merry time approaches
They arrive to assist us
We cannot be their kind
We thank them as we do each year,
Then we say goodbye again.
    We see them go
         We must stay
              Always the forgotten ones

As the new young are born
Out of the deadness of time
We feel no joy.
We are the forgotten ones
We are here to make them feel holy.
    And as they play
         On their warm spot of earth
              We are still hungry.

© Jessie McCandless, 1997



Alan T Hainkel said...

Incredibly powerful, Jessie... Very nicely done.

Anonymous said...

What you witnessed was not Christianity.

Annette said...

That church group (or the leaders anyway) sure missed the whole point of Jesus' teachings.

Carol............. said...

I do agree with your feelings regarding some individuals who profess to be Christians. Its better to go into your closet and pray.....

Good for you to help out regardless of their attitude.

Your poem certainly makes one think. Thank you for posting this, we all need to be reminded of such things.

Jessie McCandless said...

Thank you, Alan :)

Anon, I think you're right on there.

Annette, I think they did as well, my a longshot!

Thank you as well, Carol. It was definitely not a church I was interested in joining!

Nicole said...

LOVE it and that's sad that the church wanted the recognition but nothing else... um... HELLO!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Beautiful sentiments in your poem. Well done Jessie.

Those church people should be ashamed to call themselves Christians by the way. Doing it for recognition and not for the people who needed it, especially the children, is so wrong on so many levels. Glad you helped out the way you could and didn't look for applause.