This week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving and the blessings of a bountiful harvest. We were asked to share some of the insights we have gained through our involvement with the community meal also known as the Saints Café.
Working with the ministry of the Saints Café has been far more rewarding to us than the effort we have expended. It has given us a better understanding of many of the teachings Jesus spoke about while here on earth.
St. Mary Church has been involved with the Saints Café for 8 years. It is an outreach ministry where we serve a meal once a month to about 250 guests from many walks of life. It is from the comments and joys our guest’s display that furthers our understanding of why Jesus Christ used the gathering at table so effectively to demonstrate how we should treat each other. Around many tables there is laughter from people happy to have someone to talk with. We hear comments like “It is no fun to eat alone” or I just can’t cook anymore.” I think a person’s health deteriorates when they stop eating nutritious meals. Families who come thank us for a meal they may not be able to afford. Our guests from the group homes get to have an “outing” they could not experience other places. Their enthusiasm and graciousness is overwhelming. There is “hunger” in Waverly and it takes many forms. It is not always just a need for food.
We also supply carry outs. When you listen to people ask for these, you often hear “this allows me a day off from cooking as my spouse is homebound” or my neighbor really appreciates this as it is truly “home cooked.” When we delivered meals to a neighbor whose husband was in the emergency room earlier that day, she exclaimed, “You are a God send; I am just too tired to fix a meal.” Many of the carry outs go to those who cannot travel to the meal or are not comfortable in group settings.
Christ used the gathering at table as the setting for many of his teachings. His first miracle was to change water into wine at the wedding feast. He fed the multitude on the mountainside with only five loaves and two fish. He was criticized for eating with “sinners.” His covenant which established a path to heaven was presented at the “last supper.”
As Thanksgiving draws close, we are grateful for the opportunity and the blessing of being a part of the Saints Café.
Jim & Linda O’Donnell