It all started with a pot of coffee.
Rob Farley had volunteered to run by the church every morning to wake the people who were sleeping on the steps of the church before the police came by. One snowy, cold morning, one of the men asked Rob if there was any coffee. Rob’s first inclination was to say he did not have time, but then he recalled, from the Book of Matthew, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” That first pot of coffee became a daily ritual with a few people until, one day, another man spent a portion of his disability check on cereal and milk. 7 years later, this coming together to share a meal is a vibrant part of the Capitol Hill Community that brings people from all walks of life together.
“Our Daily Bread” is organized by Rob who, along with Margot Eyring and David Kennedy, using whatever food has been purchased and/or donated and put together a filling breakfast, while also taking a few minutes to read a daily reflection (or on Wednesdays, participate in Bible Study), and having good fellowship with whoever shows up. Faces become names, and a community of strangers becomes of a community of friends. It becomes a transformative experience for those who regularly participate, including some of the staff and interns at William Penn House. Hundreds of volunteer groups, including many of our Quaker Workcamp groups, also go. It becomes a part of the fabric of our lives.
For Rob, there is also the deeper transformation. The former corporate lawyer and Capitol Hill resident now leads an inspiring life that many people might admire, but few would actually have the courage to live. He lives in an intentional community in a house he purchased near Marvin Gaye Park in NE DC. All of his housemates at one time lived on the streets. He works as he has to to keep the roof over his head, but otherwise lives life in the service of the community. His story, alone, touches the lives of the hundreds of people every year who join in for breakfast as neighbors from the area or as visitors to DC to do service work.
This evening at William Penn House, we are honoring “Our Daily Bread” at our annual “Creating the Peaceable Kingdom” event. What happens here every day is a living model for what it is to live in community and fellowship. We hope you can join us tonight at 6PM, or perhaps can make your way some morning to Capitol Hill Methodist Church for breakfast.
And for today, take a few moments to reflect on Matthew 25: 31-40, the verses that have been at the root of this wonderful example of what it is to live in faith:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’