The Rev. Dan Warren has often commented that the sound of dishes rattles through the New Testament. Jesus was forever sharing meals with people. Undoubtedly his most famous meal is the Last Supper, when he took bread and wine and sanctified them as his own body and blood.
Recall for a moment that Last Supper. Think of the intimacy of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, and then his gift of the Eucharist -- and then also remember that this was the last meal of a condemned man. He tells the disciples up front, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.” -- I want to eat with you, my friends, before I die.
Hearing this, I think of the families I used to visit when I was a pediatric hospice chaplain. How often the children would ask parents to take them out to a favorite restaurant! Gathering with the family around a table away from the medical paraphernalia of a terminal illness was their deepest desire. Like Jesus, they knew they would die, condemned by their disease or their condition. Yet, also like Jesus, they understood shared meals as a celebration of life, as a kind of sacred bonding.
I love the post-resurrection story of Jesus cooking breakfast on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. When I think of these children, I like to imagine not a grand banquet, but Jesus waiting for them on the other shore, cooking their favorite breakfast.
My prayer for all of us this season is that we find time to share a special family meal, to celebrate well, to rattle our own dishes and give great good thanks for this life, and the life to come.