November 2009: Meals with God
The service began with some prayers and liturgy, and then the group was encouraged to visit four stations. They were told that they would spend 15 minutes at each station doing some facilitated activity, then moving to another station. Everyone would get time to visit 3 out of the 4 stations.
The stations were;
1. The meal and foot-washing at Simon the Pharisee’s house (Luke 7:36-50)
2. Breakfast on the beach (John 21:9-20)
3. The Great Banquet (Luke 14)
4. Feeding of the 5,000 (John 6).
After the stations, the service finished with communion.
At entrance ways to the station/table place ‘UNWELCOME’ mats (brown door mats adulterated)
Shoe cleaning kit in the middle of the space
? A coat stand
So it was all set up
This would be my chance to sit him down
Try and talk some sense in to him
Find out what all the fuss was about.
He would see from my home, his fellow dinner guests
The spread on the table
That I am a man of substance
Someone not to be messed with
And then she walked in
Nervous, and rightly so
She had no right to be there
He attracts such inappropriate company
But she wasn’t leaving
And had the audacity to sit down right next to him
And started sobbing
And then if that wasn’t enough she cracked open the perfume
And right there started to bathe his feet, and massage them
and wiped them with her hair
I can barely stand to tell you more
I didn’t know where to look
My reputation was at risk
This man, allowing this woman to touch him, so publicly
And enjoying it.
Didn’t he know who she was, where she’d been?
I guess he must have seen my face
And he started to tell me this apparently simple story...
Then read Luke 7:36-50 and reflect on these questions;
Who was welcome at the meal? And who was unwelcome?
In what ways was Jesus challenging the norms of social acceptability and polite behaviour?
If you were the host would you have invited Jesus back again?
In what ways is Jesus challenging you to become more hospitable, welcoming or inclusive?
Where do you need to break or relax your accustomed rules of ‘guest’ or ‘host’ behaviour in order to transform your community?
Have you had a time when someone else’s behaviour has challenged your view of what is acceptable or appropriate? Was it just uncomfortable or did it leave you refreshed and liberated in any way?
After a dramatised reflection on Peter’s story, John 21:9-20 was read, and Godly play-style wondering on the following questions;
What might the disciples have felt when they saw Jesus cooking breakfast?
How did this meal compare with the last time they ate with him?
What did he mean, exactly, when he asked Peter, ‘do you love me more than these?’
Why did he ask the question three times?
If you were a disciple in the group, listening to the conversation between Peter and Jesus, what would you have thought or felt?
What was the task entrusted to Peter?
What might have changed for the disciples after this meal on the beach?
a time when being forgiven freed you up in some way.
someone that you have forgiven, and the possibilities your forgiveness opened up for both of you.
the lord is here
his spirit is with us
lift up your hearts
we lift them up to god
let us give thanks to the lord our god
it is right to give thanks and praise
we praise Jesus that he spent time on earth among us.
he shared our hospitality, and accepted our gifts of food and drink.
Food was never just food to him, but a sign of god’s love and provision. When the wine ran out at a wedding, Jesus turned water into Beaujolais, and the party went on into the night.
When thousands followed him onto a hillside, he spoke to their spiritual needs, then addressed their empty stomachs with fish and bread. When he met a tax collector up a tree, he asked the tax collector to feed him, and the collector discovered new generosity to others.
At Jesus’ hands a feast became a parable of god’s kingdom, and breakfast on the beach an opportunity for reconciliation. He took the stuff that sustained our bodies and used it to point us to the things of god.
Jesus shared meals with proud fools and humble sinners; there was room for everyone at his table. And there is room for us as we share a meal with him now.
at the last meal jesus had before his betrayal
he gathered with his closest friends, as he’d done so many times before.
he took the bread and gave thanks
he broke it and shared it as he always did.
But this time, as the bread went round, he said,
'take this and eat it.
this is my body, broken for you.
whenever you share it, remember me.'
he took the cup of wine, gave thanks and shared it. As the wine went round, Jesus said,
'drink this, all of you;
this wine is my blood, shed for the forgiveness of sins.
Whenever you share it, remember me.'
So share this food now. We offer you this bread and wine as a symbol that we offer our lives to you. You offer them back to us, symbols of forgiveness, signed with the holy spirit.
so gather at this table. receive this food, that binds us into community with god, drink this wine, that proclaims we are forgiven.