Jesus’ top 10 tips for dining out

Jesus’ top 10 tips for dining out

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Our next Sunday@Seven service will be on August 30th 2020. Our theme this time will be ‘Jesus’ top 10 tips for dining out’.

If it hadn’t been for lock-down, August 30th would have been the Summer Buffet at St John’s. That made us think about food and how Jesus used it. He often used meals to initiate and maintain relationships – and to teach important lessons. Jesus’ example provides an opportunity to invite friends, people on the edges and even those that we don’t get on with to know God’s story of love and salvation.

So, we thought ‘Jesus’ top 10 tips for dining out’ would be a way to think differently about Jesus and about ourselves. And we’ll also be singing some of the 2019 Songs of Praise Top 10. One or two have got something to do with food but frankly most haven’t – they’re just nice to sing! And all the prayers will be graces that you can say before a meal…

We’ll be Zooming again and you’re very welcome to muddle along with us. Please let us know via the Contact page if you are interested and we will forward joining details.

What is Sunday@Seven?

Sunday@Seven is an opportunity to informally worship together on the last Sunday of each month – and yes, it’s at 7 pm. There’s a mix of songs, prayers and reflections. We usually have an ‘open mic’ slot for people to share whatever is on their mind, though that’s harder to do with the Zoom time limit. It’s normally led by Nigel Silvester, one of our Authorised Lay Ministers, ably supported by Cath Hilton. This particular session will be led by Ian Banks (the other Authorised Lay Minister).

Usually, of course, we would physically be together for this – but, since things are still uncertain, we’ll be doing it virtually. So, if you want cake and a brew, you’ll have to provide your own!

Update 31st August: For those who didn’t join us last night, here are the imaginary top 10 tips…

Top ten tips

  1. Eat often – There are over 50 references to food & drink in Mark’s Gospel, 70 in John and 94 in Matthew! Luke’s Gospel has been described as Jesus at a meal, on his way to a meal, or on his way from a meal. It was how Jesus did his mission and ministry. Anthropologists think that you can tell pretty much everything about relations amongst a society’s members once you find out where, when and with whom food is eaten. So, who do you eat with during a typical month? What would an anthropologist think it says about you?
  2. Provide your own wine – wedding at Cana, John 2.
  3. Keep it simple/fresh – barbecued fish on the seashore, John 21. The wedding at Cana and the meal on the shore of the Sea of Tiberius are the first and last meals in the Gospel of John. They’re the book-ends if you like. Both were epiphanies – Jesus, in a big way at Cana and a small way on the seashore, demonstrating who he is but also providing for his follower’s needs. I wonder whether we look for the Jesus in other people in the social occasions that we have together and whether we think about how we provide for each-others’ needs.
  4. Eat with your friends – any meal with the disciples, Luke 10.
  5. Don’t just eat with your friends – any meal with ‘sinners’ & Pharisees, Luke 5, 7 & 19. Jesus didn’t just eat with family and friends. He ate with people who had poor reputations and people who frankly were out to get him. Sometimes he was invited – and sometimes he invited himself! Think about Zaccheus. And he was criticised for it. His judgement was called into question. Arguably, if you read Luke’s Gospel, Jesus got himself killed by the way he ate. But spending meal-time with people other than his mates was a way of breaking barriers down. Is there anyone that we don’t particularly get on with who we should really spend some time with over a meal? Anyone that we should reach out to who are on the edges?
  6. Know when to say “no” – the temptations in the wilderness, Matthew 4. Sometimes it’s prudent to say “no,” when saying “yes” will cause yourself and others harm.
  7. Give thanks – supper at Emmaus, Luke 24. Jesus spent all that time on the walk opening scripture up to the 2 disciples. 2 disciples who had abandoned the others and were going home. But they still didn’t realise who he was. They compelled Jesus to come in and stay for the evening. As the guest it wasn’t really his place to give the blessing for the food – but he did it anyway and that’s when their eyes were opened. Perhaps it was the words that he used, the same words as at the feeding of the thousands. Or maybe for the first time they saw the marks in his hands as he broke bread. But it took a simple blessing over food for them to understand. If they hadn’t been hospitable and invited him, it would just have been a walk and a Bible Study. As it was, they invited him in and got to see the risen Jesus. So, never underestimate hospitality or the power of giving a blessing. Who knows what might be revealed?
  8. Think of others – the little girl after he brought her back to life, Luke 8. I think there’s a lovely touch in the story of the healing of the daughter of Jairus. He’s just brought her back to life and the first thing he thinks of is that she might be hungry. It’s attention to the details, awareness of others’ needs.
  9. Expect the unexpected – washing of Jesus feet, Luke 7. Jesus had gone for a meal with the high & mighty to discuss issues of the day when ‘a sinful’ woman comes in and washes his feet with her tears and then puts perfume on them. The gospels are full of stories where Jesus is interrupted by something unexpected. But he goes with the flow and gives each of them time. Sometimes we can get irritated when our plans get interrupted – but perhaps it’s an opportunity to both bless someone and be blessed by them.
  10. Give it significance – the Last Supper, Matthew 26, from verse 26. It was Jesus’ last meal before his arrest and he was the host. He could have talked about his suffering. But instead he left them instructions about what to do when they’re together. Instructions which have come down to us today. In John’s Gospel he washes their feet too. Rather than thinking about himself he was thinking about them and how they would cope with the future. But what if “do this in remembrance of me”, as he says in Luke, isn’t just the Passover meal that we think about at Eucharist. What if we’re supposed to remember all the communal meals that he had? The meals with the newly converted, the tax collectors and sinners? What if it’s that which we’re being called to do and to remember When we provide food do we give it significance? Like the Thursday lunches & Afternoon Teas & the Coffee Mornings, we’re not just giving people food, we’re giving an opportunity for people to share, to be sociable, to have conversation + company. Ultimately, Jesus feeds us so that we can feed others…

So, you get the idea! I’m sure you could easily come up with more…

References:

With thanks to Robert J. Karris – Eating your way through Luke’s Gospel, Liturgical Press.

Many thanks to Adrian Infernus for the photo on Unsplash

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