I have a confession to make: I fail far more often than I succeed.
I suspect this is true of most people who dream a lot. And I think it is a good thing. Every failure means we tried… and we learned.
Right now we are trying an experiment at the Community Kitchen I lead. I wrote about it yesterday here. We are working to switch over from cafeteria (or what many of our guests call “prison style”) service, complete with segmented trays and long lines and steam tables, to family-style service. It is an experiment. It might fail. But we must try.
Family-style service means having to do three “seatings” and it means re-setting the dining room each time. It means a lot more dishes (real dishes!) It means not just cooking for 100 people, but plattering, garnishing, serving and bussing for 100 people.
As more than one person has pointed out: we are creating a lot more work for ourselves and our volunteers.
Because we have faith that wholesome food, prepared and served with love, bestows dignity and invites hope.
That is our vision.
It is painted right on the wall.
I suspect some people thought it was “nice” to put it up there — a “nice” idea, a”good sentiment”.
Little do they know that I lose sleep thinking about ways to bestow a dignity that leads to life-transforming hope.
And there is something else that drives me.
It’s not my kitchen and these aren’t my guests.
It is His, and they are His guests.
It is the Master’s Kitchen and the guests we serve are His personally chosen guests.
While the Master himself is humble and without pretense — and I suspect would not mind being served on a plastic segmented tray — I also know that is not how I would serve Him, and it is not how He would serve His guests.
Is it more work? Absolutely.
Is food served family-style more nutritious? Nope.
But it is how the Master’s guests should be taken care of.
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’