In a dark world, I have been attempting to practice a simple spiritual discipline. It is a reorienting of my own vision, keeping my eyes open to God’s truth. It is simply this: Looking for evidence of the kingdom of God in the small everyday mundane things.
I am a fair-trade enthusiast.
As a business minor in college, I fell in love with the idea of making well-researched, intentional choices with my limited purchasing power. I love that there are more emerging opportunities for me to connect and support people far away from me in this way.
This passion for fair-trade business practices grew when I had the privilege and opportunity to work for one of the most amazing nonprofit organizations in the world (possibly biased). Feed My Starving Children is a fantastic organization that utilizes volunteers to create life-saving meals that reach people all over the globe.
What I love about what they do is that they specialize in doing this well and with intention, but they do not stop with just the food. FMSC does the hard work to ensure that partner organizations distributing the food are also dealing with other needs such as clean water, education, job creation, and security and community development in some of the world’s most dangerous and poverty-stricken places.
FMSC connects its volunteers with opportunities to further support their mission by selling fair trade items in their marketplace. These items come from partner organizations that employ artisans in a safe and fairly-paid environment. These artisans are often women in need of a way to support their children, families, and communities.
My favorite coffee cup presents a picture of the kingdom of God in this world.
My beautiful teal mug is made out of red Haitian mud clay. The clay was dug up out of the Haitian ground, the soil of the poorest country in the world.
In poverty-stricken Haiti, children often do not have enough to eat. In order to deal with this tragic situation, some children must eat clay “biscuits” made from the very same mud. This is heartbreakingly a better alternative to an empty belly, even when dirt has no nutritional value and will eventually cause greater intestinal and health issues and malnutrition.
The dirt that forms my coffee cup could have been consumed by a child in poverty, in an attempt to ease momentary pain in the midst of a tragic situation; the desperate need for food, for life, and for hope.
The truth of God’s work in this world…
He is working to renew, revive, redeem and resurrect his creation. This is the work of Jesus on the cross and his victorious resurrection. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of people. As we turn towards a God that makes beautiful things out of the dirt.
Remember, humanity was formed out of dirt in the beginning to become God’s most treasured creation. One that he was willing to die for.
Humanity itself was once dirt. God is referred to in scripture as a potter (Isaiah 64:8). In him, we are transformed into something holy, beautiful and treasured by the only one who can assign true value.
My mug was crafted in the hands of someone I will probably never meet. It was glazed in my favorite color and shipped to me in North Dakota, USA. The blessing of my morning tea or coffee in a beautiful mug is not lost on me. It is a true luxury, that I can enjoy this beautiful piece of art in a moment of silence.