Sanctifying the Body

by Kathy Roberts*

Sanctification has always been an intimidating word to me. But as I learned more about its meaning, it felt more like something I needed in my life. Sanctify means to set apart for a sacred purpose.

Gleaning before sunrise in North Carolina with The Society of St. Andrew

I found sanctification through volunteering with SoSA. Last summer, my children and I gleaned at First Fruits Farm in Louisburg, North Carolina.

All morning we walked slowly along muddy rows, pulling ears of corn from rustling stalks. Some were inedible and some even had mold on them. Those we hastily dropped to the ground and passed over.  

But the majority of the green husks that day revealed rows of plump, tender yellow and silver kernels. We tossed those perfect ears into a deep plastic bucket at our feet. Each time our bucket was full, my ten-year-old son lugged it to a wagon and added our load to crates already full of corn picked by other gleaners scattered throughout the large, dewy field.  

 By noon, we were sweaty, tired, and hungry as we hoisted cardboard boxes of fresh corn into the back of our car. We had spent the morning serving others who were hungry, and now we ourselves felt the familiar pangs. 

All the way to town, we breathed in the ears’ green-husk-sugar-ripeness. At our local food pantry, a few men were waiting in line, outside, for a mid-day meal when we pulled up. They volunteered to help us unload. “Oh, man,” one of them exclaimed, looking at the full box of corn in his arms. “I love corn on the cob!”   

I felt blessed by his exclamation. I felt my morning had been sanctified for the holy purpose of bringing fresh food for that man. Now, our task was complete. We waved goodbye and drove home. 

For a few hours in a farm field, we worked at the holy task of gathering food for others. We reached, pulled, tossed, shucked, and loaded. We labored, and the food piled up.  It was purposeful, anonymous, and sanctifying.   

As Good Friday approaches, we look forward to another opportunity to sanctify our bodies — by fasting. Like gleaning, the work of fasting presses a pause button on our own routines around food. As we temporarily withhold food from ourselves, we allow our hunger pangs to remind us of our brothers and sisters who go daily without enough to eat. For them, it’s not a choice.

If you’re medically capable of fasting, would you consider doing so with SoSA on Easter weekend this year? You can download a FREE Good Friday Fast Booklet online today for prayers to focus on during each mealtime. Click here to download the booklet.

And if you’d like to register as a volunteer to go glean dewy fields and rescue food for families in need, click here to sign up as a volunteer in your state today.

*Kathy Roberts is a SoSA volunteer



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