Lent for the World- Week 2
Post date: Mar 18, 2014 5:55:16 PM
Community Meal as a Lenten Practice
This week’s Lenten reflection is going to be different from last week’s. We like variety don’t we? The reason for the difference is because this week we have a community meal, so I wanted to spend some time thinking about it. The community meal is a ministerial endeavor of our church to provide a tasty and filling meal to anyone who wants it or needs it. Like grace, it is free. As the followers of Jesus, we foot the cost and do the work to share it with those we love- people. Is this is a sacrifice? Sure, but it is probably the least that we can do.
The community meal does not occur often, for we only offer it 4 times a year. That being said, when we do offer a free meal we want it to be worth it. Everyone loves BBQ and we can agree that this is a treat. For those who have to rely on ministries such as this, we want to offer something nice, something in which we can proclaim “taste and see that the Lord is good!” Our community has been hit hard with poverty, need, and isolation. While this doesn’t solve the problem it is one avenue of hospitality in which we show love to hungry people.
God’s Response in Jesus’ Story: Our scriptural basis for the community meal comes from Luke 14:12-14:
He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Go ahead and take a look at the rest of Luke 14. Within this text Jesus is dealing with table issues- who do we eat with, who sits where, who do we invite? To provide an oversimplification: Jesus encourages hospitality and sharing a table with all types of people. Why? Are these proper manners? It goes beyond that. Jesus is comparing the Kingdom of God to a banquet (By the way, what a great image! Good food and friends gathered is a truly holy experience!). Thus, at the Lord’s table: the exalted will be humbled, the humbled will be exalted, the excluded will be fed without the expectation of a return, and ALL types of people will be invited in to fill out the celebration.
So, with our community meal, could we be giving a foretaste of the heavenly banquet?
Hearing voices: I found this article about a Presbyterian church that does something similar. Take a look and see if you can relate, or if this sparks new ideas for our church:
Question: What effect does helping with this ministry have on you?
Our Response: Invite someone to the meal who cannot repay you. Either bring them, or take a meal to them. Who is that you know who could use this delicious BBQ supper? An elderly shut-in? A single parent and their children? A struggling family? A friend, who might not be struggling financially, but could use the fellowship that comes along with good food? Or, maybe you don’t know anything about their situation, you just want to invite them. That’s cool too. Chances are the Spirit has put someone in your mind. Share a meal with them. Feel free to eat with them if the situation allows it. It might be more than the food that they need. In doing so, you could be sacrificing. But believe me, you will be tasting the goodness of the Lord’s banquet.
Prayer/Liturgy: Please pray for the Community meal. Pray that our meal accomplishes its Christ-intended purpose. Pray that the hungry will find their way to us, and that we will find our way to the hungry. Pray for the volunteers, that they will be strengthened in service and in grace. Pray that we will see Christ in the face of those whom we serve. Pray that this will be a means in which we grow in faith. Pray that, although it is a relatively small event, it will have a lasting impact for the Kingdom of God.