I have, on this blog, shared several times about our “Cookie Flinging” both at Girdwood Chapel and now at Seward UMC. The Biblical basis of this comes from “The Parable of the Sower”:
“Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” (Mark 4:3-9).
The tale gets told this way in our congregations… Take a look at how that sower goes out to plant his seeds. When we think of most planting, we think of nice little rows of carefully planted seed. But this sower, he’s just tossing the seed out willy-nilly. Some is going on the rock and the path and the thorns…BUT… but some landed on the good soil and yielded much grain. So, says the author of OUTFLOW: Outward-focussed living in an inward-focussed world, “I want to be a prodigious, indiscriminate seed-flinger for Jesus.” We should be doing acts of love in the world, in the name of Jesus, flinging love left and right, for all persons, not being careful where that love lands, but sure that some of it will fall on good soil. We trust that God’s love is effective.
So, we fling cookies. It’s a small act of love and care. It’s simple. It doesn’t require much. We just hand them out every once in a while…”flinging” them around the town…willy-nilly, as it were.
Now, most of the time, we don’t know where the cookies “land.” We don’t know the “soil” of the persons who receive…whether they are already believers, whether they have a church, whether they were hungry and thankful for the food, whether they needed a little reminder of love and this hit the spot, whether they cared at all, whether they just threw them away. We don’t know…most of the time.
A couple of weeks ago we flung some more cookies…in the pouring rain. But we’ve gotten two wonderful responses that show us that this simple act of love is hitting some good soil. (Mind you, these may not seem big to you, but they seem huge to me.)
First, as one group handed out cookies along the harbor area of town, several employees of shops said they remembered us handing out cookies before and how wonderful it was to see us out doing it again. I know that’s not a “come to Jesus” moment or the start of a Bible study or an increase in church attendance or the offering plate. But it is the very start of a relationship. As opposed to a one-time event, this now has a history. And even if that’s all there is, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s some growth. Next time we might strike up more of a conversation. It’s the beginning.
Second, when my parents got on the airplane to head back to the lower-48 the next day, my mom struck up a conversation with the person sitting next to her. That person said that she had been down in Seward the day before and that the most wonderful thing happen when they were given cookies by a local church. She said that she couldn’t wait to get back to her home church in wherever-it-was to tell them about this way of reaching out to the community through a simple act of love. And so it spreads. How awesome is that?
So much of the time when we love this world of ours with the love of Christ, we have no idea how that love will be received. And, it’s true, sometimes it’s not received at all but is rejected.
BUT…sometimes it falls on good soil. Sometimes even the COOKIES fall on good soil.