Dearest Discount Grocery Store,
I can’t tell you how warm I felt inside when I heard you were coming to town. I’ve been waiting for you. Can I tell you a secret, though, dear friend? When I was younger, I heard your blessed name receive the epithet, “poor person’s grocery store,” as if all shoppers for groceries might be herded into castes, divided between your sweet (and tiny) parking lot and the expansive parking plains of your neighbors.
But I’ve been humbled, friend, since I last heard your name disparaged. You see, my circumstances of late how found me in need of lower prices for my groceries and every little scrap of change matters. I knew such relief when, several months ago, one of your priests rung up my total and the numbers reflected peace. That was the beginning of shalom long-missing.
Blessed art thou among grocery stores, thou Giver of Daily Bread, thou Unacknowledged Servant to the Master of the Universe:
…for your three-dollar wine, which lets me taste the Cup of Life in my own living room—you offer luxury in a time of few indulgences.
…for your small selection of goods, your resistance to brands—you silence the proud sellers in Vanity Fair and offer only what is needed. Your inventory breathes the word “enough” over each aisle, each shelf.
…for the surprisingly beautiful labels on your Italian cooking line—there is beauty in the pasta and pesto feasts your acolytes enjoy, frugal as these meals may be.
…for the organic fair trade coffee you sell unabashedly next to the instant java jars—you know that just because we’re on a budget doesn’t make us blind to the world.
…for your portions, rich and full and large—we have more than enough because of your liberality. We can show hospitality because you don’t hold back.
…for letting your cashiers sit in padded, twirling chairs while they bless each food item; for giving them the dignity to sit high above our heads, as gatekeepers to a week full of plenty.
…for your bagging counter, where I stand at the altar with my cloth bags, with my family’s weekly food—you make me take care to set to eggs on top, to bag the meats together, to portion out the gifts of a Monday morning.
…for the tithe you return after I leave your blessed sanctuary and give back my cart—you enact the cycle of charity, the circle of gifts.
Blessed art thou among grocery stores, thou Giver of Daily Bread, thou unacknowledged Servant to the Master of the Universe.
May we see you as just one glorious sanctuary among many.