It's Blog Action Day today! Bloggers around the world are writing about poverty, and trying to combine our small, individual, vocational actions into a movement to alleviate the suffering of others. Frederick Buechner defines vocation as "the place where your deep joy and the world's deep hunger meet."
I'd like to tell you about some friends of mine. Three years ago, we decided that our vocation-- music--could be used to address hunger issues. We formed a chamber choir called InVocation, a name that invokes Buechner and invites God's presence and others' participation in our work to feed the hungry.
We choose a new charity partner each year--one that addresses hunger issues--and perform eight concerts each year to support their work. There are many open hearts involved in making this happen: our rehearsal space is donated; our concert venues are hosted by churches in the metro area who also provide a reception for concertgoers; our recording time/space, our printing, our photos, our website--all are donated. The members themselves buy their music and concert dress, commit several hours each week to rehearsal and concerts, and run the organization (charity interface, webmaster, management, publicity, creative direction, etc.). More information is available on our website about the specifics of the organization and our first two charity partners.
Our first year was spent singing for Loaves and Fishes, which feeds meals to the hungry at eight sites in our metro area. In our second year, we supported Feed My Starving Children, which packages and sends meals to over fifty countries around the world. Our partner for the coming year is Second Harvest--Heartland.
We love to sing together. It's a joy to get to use our creativity this way, and to be conduits for a whole big bunch of goodwill from our supporting organizations and audiences. That feeds US. It also feeds a whole bunch of others: we fed 1700 meals through Loaves & Fishes in 2006-7, and sixty children will eat all this year because of last year's concerts for FMSC. Who knows what will come of this year's partnership?
I tell you this not out of a desire to boast about my friends (though I am proud of this group), but because this is a joy to us...because there may be an idea like this lurking in the back of your mind, Gentle Reader, and you need a little bit of encouragement.
Why not light that candle in your hand? It's surprising how much darkness can be dispelled by some shared goodwill, and that's a blessing for everyone concerned.