The Offering Plate, by Brenda Smith
THE OFFERING PLATE
The collection plate passes
On down the pew row
“I know this guy named Pete.
A black guy. A really nice guy.
In downtown Greensboro—homeless.
I give to him whenever I can.”
And the plate travels farther
And which is more pure a gift?
Five dollars in the plate
Or one dollar in the hand?
The five goes farther, further
All around the world
To the poorest of the poor
Or so we hope, by faith
But the dollar goes deeper
A brown hand reaching out
Not to beg, but accept an offering
A kind word passed between two humans
A gift of dignity, more precious than the dollar
To be treated like a human being again
Like someone with a name and face
To accept what a young white boy
Not the dollar
Although it will do some good
But a smile and a look