For the past semester, I've been volunteering weekly at Daybreak with my dear friend Colleen. Each time we're there, we hang out with members, play some dominoes, participate in music time, and help out with cleanup in the kitchen some.
Today, our friend Kenia organized cultural food-age that was so delicious...with the help of her mom, dinner at Daybreak tonight was (literally translated from the Spanish) "Seasoned Chicken" with rice and it was sooo good...so after helping to de-bone 4 chickens, I got to have fabulous food...
Anyway. As per usual, I did dishes in the kitchen tonight, working for about 40 minutes or an hour just cleaning everything that came my way. I happened to be wearing a camp t-shirt today, and by the end of the day it was soaked from the times when poorly-aimed dish water came out of a ladle or tray and back up at me. Let me tell you...it was super glamorous. But in all seriousness, as I was standing there washing dish after dish after dish (and using my pro skilz at speeding dishes through the sanitizer and getting it done quickly), I had a thought:
To me, this is what it means to offer my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. It doesn't mean this awkward sort of honor-killing thing, where I get burnt on an altar and become a useless set of ashes. And it doesn't mean putting myself down, or in any way mistreating myself. What it does mean is that when I get dirty (or in this case, soaking wet with dishwater) while serving others (and therefore ultimately serving God), I don't mind. My personal comfort is not my primary concern, and the use of my body is not primarily selfish. I know that sounds kind of weird, but it takes me back to my days at DYA, when we followed a very strict dress code because "there's so many things you can do with your body that aren't sexual, like running and dancing and worshiping and serving and living in God's love, and so we want you to be freed to do all those things."
When I left Daybreak today, I was so completely filled. Not just literally (although the food was delicious), but my spirit was so filled with peace...something about just being so productive and helpful and serving and being a part of a bigger service and not worrying about myself...I left that little building in center city, in clothes smelling like any soup kitchen and slightly damp with dishwater, still congested from allergies, completely filled with peace that passed my understanding. I can't put my finger on it...but I was just so happy.