I was thinking of “The Penultimate Supper”, I don’t know why others call it “The Last Supper” because it is most certainly not the last! Jesus speaks a lot about, the feast or the banquet to which we are invited. This will be the last supper!
It seems that Jesus likes food as much as I do (confirmation I am made in God’s image) and he performs some of his best bits around the table. At this penultimate meal he commands his friends and followers to remember something which has not yet happened and he asks them to remember this coming event each time they sit around a table for a meal. In the immediate (a word I borrow from St. Mark) future his suffering, sacrificial death, and bodily resurrection take place, making remembering much easier than was previously possible. At that penultimate meal Jesus sadly shared that he would not eat with them, in this manner until he did so in his Kingdom (the Ultimate!) but he desired that his followers continue to eat together and to remember until that day.
I was thinking about all this because so much of the best bits of my ministry happen around tables and food. Last night we had our ‘Spaghetti and Western’ with guys from the half way houses. We shared a spaghetti dinner and chat about everything under the sun, then we watch an old (I guess there are no other kinds) episode of Bonanza. In this one the town drunk, Charlie, had once been a cavalry scout. With Hoss’ help he rises to the occasion saving a troop of soldiers and rediscovering that he is a person of worth. After the show we had a great chat about how there is hope after addiction and mistakes and how God is the God of ‘another chance’. After we had prayed we left full in our tummies and with re-kindled hope that there is another chance for us.
On Saturday mornings we feed 40 – 60 people a hot breakfast. We almost always show a short video (YouTube is such a blessing) and I have a short chat about the video. As people start to eat I make the rounds of the tables and chat with my friends. Our goal is that no one leaves hungry and no one leaves without knowing they are cared for.
Sunday nights we always have a little something to nosh on and one of the best bits is making the rounds from table to table before the service begins. I just kibitz with my friends and gather prayer requests for later.
On Monday through Wednesday we sit around a table with our coffee and tea and study and pray, but the most interesting bits are the real life conversations and questions that arise as we ‘just hang out’ with one another.
Food around a table in the intentional presence of Jesus is the key to my ministry. I realize that I perhaps need to add the element of exercise or at least a vigorous prayer walk to make this sustainable but I want to keep doing this in remembrance of him until that Ultimate supper. I want all my friends to be there with me. Until then let’s party on!
Street Hope Saint John is fully funded by your generous donations and would like you to know that we are in need of food for our current ministries. If you wish to help by donating food or funds, please visit our Street Hope Saint John website.