Weekly Reflection, Sunday, July 8, 2018
By: Andrew Moore
For my last two years of seminary, I lived with four other students at the Berkeley Center, home to much of the community life of Berkeley Divinity School. We house residents were responsible for providing hospitality at the Center. We’d make coffee each morning for Morning Prayer. And we’d prepare the Community Dinner for 125 people each Wednesday night.
I love to cook, so this ministry of hospitality was a natural fit for me, but I’d never cooked in such large volumes on a regular basis before. When I first began, the weekly trips to Restaurant Depot and the math involved in multiplying recipes were utterly overwhelming. I’d always found cooking to be relaxing, but it seemed like cooking for a crowd might be more stressful than soothing.
But I quickly discovered that as the five of us gathered in the kitchen each week to chop onions, trim meats, and make sauces, the joy of being together made the task that had seemed overwhelming become downright manageable. Sharing the responsibility of feeding the community, of creating a space of hospitality and welcome where people could come together over a hot, home-cooked meal, quickly became one of the most rewarding experiences of my time in seminary.
God invites us to feast at the heavenly banquet, to come together as the beloved community around a table. In one of the services of Eucharist from the Iona Community in Scotland, all are invited to share communion with the following words:
This is the table of company with Jesus, and all who love him. It is the table of sharing with the poor of the world, with whom Jesus identified himself. It is the table of communion with the earth, in which Christ became incarnate.
Sharing a meal is a sacramental act, it allows us to see God in one another and in the world. The meal may be shared at the altar or around a table at home. Wherever it might be, God is present.
Here at St. Mary’s we have many opportunities to feast with one another. Whether at our monthly Parish Suppers and Breakfasts or through the new Pastoral Care Meal Ministry, we get to share God’s hospitality, to feed and be fed, to break bread and see God.
So come, God’s table is set. Come and feed God’s people and, at the same time, be fed by God.