Acts of Mercy – Tabitha/Dorcas Feast Day October 25, 2021
by Liz Goodyear Jones
My church pension fund’s pocket calendar shows Tabitha (Dorcas) of Joppa as the saint we recognize and remember today. Who was she? Wikipedia presents her as an early disciple living in the port city of Joppa, now a part of Tel Aviv. She was best known “for her good works and acts of mercy”, particularly in sewing clothes for the poor.
I loved the part about sewing clothes, particularly since I don’t and can’t. I can however use my hands in other ways. Let me tell you why that’s important to me.
Having been invited to be on a panel recently whose topic was, The Hidden Spirituality of Women, I was inspired by one of the women, who talked about our spirituality saying that in the feminine voice it “shows up in the work of our hands”. It’s in plain view and yet hidden by its ordinariness.
Things laying around unconcealed, yet not revealed, has been something of my life’s work as a preacher and priest. By that I mean, seeking to reveal Christ for the world, and us as reflections of that body. I did it in word and works.
Since retiring, I’ve become a gardener and something of a cook, both talents I didn’t know I had. My garden is lush with coleuses and roses and herbs, onions, and jalapenos, all resting pots at the feet of my stone St. Francis. The place is holy, spiritual.
My basil graced our table last evening, in a buffalo mozzarella and tomato vinaigrette salad (yes, made by me) and a cold avocado and leek soup, also mine, with crisp french bread.
After 35 years as a preacher and priest, to think of these everyday things as not only something to do, but as holy gifts, quite simply thrills me. I hope Tabitha agrees.
I am so grateful to God for the mercy shown me in retooling as an everyday, ordinary woman. I’ve been “revealed” as a gardener and a cook – holy food for holy people.