hospitality, community, and having two tunics

At some point during Lent this year, Luke 3:10-11 was part of the daily lectionary reading:

“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
John [the baptizer] answered, “The one with two tunics should share with the one who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”

I found myself realizing recently–sitting on the floor of my kitchen, going through the back of an old cupboard–that I’m one of the folks with two tunics.

Now, in general, I consider myself to be someone who travels light. When we moved across the country, I shed books, furniture, clothes, kitchen stuff, anything that would make the move easier that I could bear to part with. On top of that, much of what we do own is hand-me-down.

But some friends of ours are involved with a ministry called the Hospitality House and I got word that they were helping furnish an apartment for someone who desperately needed it. By “desperately,” I mean that she had nothing but the clothing she was wearing. I thought to myself, Well, gee, it’s a shame we got rid of all that stuff when we moved two years ago. Guess I won’t be able to help.

Then I remembered the extra coffee pot we’d gotten for free. It was a nice one. I could clean that out with vinegar and it would be like brand new. And we have that extra set of mixing bowls, now that I prefer to use the thirty-year-old Pyrex ones that used to belong to my mother-in-law. And what about that beautiful new candle I’d been wanting to burn–certainly it could help make any home a cheerier place, even under dismal circumstances.

And then I began to hunt through my cupboards and closets and drawers. I had a lot of extra stuff, and I’m not talking about nasty “I don’t want to use that because it’s so old and yucky” kind of stuff. I’m talking about perfectly good items that just weren’t getting used. I am a compulsive mug buyer, for instance. When they’re on sale, I am always going to buy one (probably two to have a matching set), if it’s the perfect shape, perfect color, perfect style… well, you know what I mean if you also like mugs. I even had two potholders with the tags still on them that were from our wedding registry five years ago. I’d been “saving” them for when our other potholders wore out. Goodness.

I had two tunics, and I didn’t even know it.

How many tunics do you have?

4 comments on “hospitality, community, and having two tunics

  1. Stephen says:

    I found myself thinking about how many tunics I have recently too. I got rid of most of my coats and jackets. I had a nice blue one for spring and a heavy puffy yellow one for skiing and two pea coats and several others. I decided to donate them. Though I still have a few left, a nice barn coat, my motorcycle jacket and a dress jacket, I got rid of those that I don’t use. I think it’s time to do the same with lots of the other “tunics” in my life.

    • elizabeth says:

      Oh dear, I hadn’t even thought about my coat closet!

      Thanks for commenting, Stephen. I always appreciate what you have to say.

  2. […] 18, 2010 at 7:00 am You probably remember my early post on tunic ownership. If not, it’s here. Go reread it before […]

  3. Craig says:

    This post warms the cockles of my communist heart. Okay, back to the other “Tunic” post…

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