This was my first Sunday back from annual leave, and we had a guest preacher. Rev Michelle Cook is a very good friend of mine and of this congregation, a deacon in placement at St Luke’s Weipa (a cooperative placement with the Anglican Church of Australia) and patrol minister in Cape York for Frontier Services.
Michelle preached a fine sermon, taking Luke 19.1-10 as her text:
When I come down to Brisbane I usually spend a lot of time eating meals with family and old friends. I used to spend a lot of time rushing around trying to visit everyone I used to know but now someone organises one event where lots of people come – so then I can actually have a holiday rather than a series of meetings one after the other.
These get togethers are surrounded imbued and facilitated by food. Sometimes we eat out at a restaurant – old favourites and new ones on the scene.
More often now we meet at someone’s home – most restaurants don’t like being inundated with children under 10. I felt especially sorry for a restaurant we went to last week where Zaney decided the chopsticks were, alternatively, drumsticks, wings for a plane (that happened to be in his sandals) or stirring sticks for drinks.
So we eat a meal together and talk about new things that are happening, things that used to happen – and what things we would like to happen.
Hospitality abounds – food, wine, conversation. Sometimes it is a foretaste of that welcome and hospitality that I know heaven will look like – a foretaste of what the reign of God will be. Conviviality, love, laughter – joy –a meal that goes on forever without indigestion.
Meals are important. They are an overlap between a public and private space – sharing meals can be an intimate expression of care and love for those at the table.
But it gets me thinking about who I actually eat with. Who do I share this care and love with? How do I express hospitality to those around me?