I’m looking out over the river I live on. It’s called the Kennebacasis. It comes from the Mi’kmaq word meaning “little long bay place”. It’s a 95 kilometers long tidal river, beautiful and wide and running deep. It is full of living beings… anything from harbor seals to salmon, trout and even sturgeon at the deepest parts. Birds of all kinds like waterfowl, seagulls, hawks, osprey and eagles fly continually by. It is teeming with life. Not only the life it supports, but the life of its own.
It speaks to me every day, communicating at deep levels. Sometimes it’s as calm as a glass surface. Sometimes it’s a raging and dangerous beast. This morning it’s dark, brown and brooding with a halo of fog suspended overhead.
Today it is speaking to me about the unity in diversity we experience at The Lasting Supper.
We do occasionally experience conflict on TLS. Sometimes there are misunderstandings. Sometimes there are inappropriate words. Sometimes there is anger, bitterness, resentment, and sharp retorts. But most of the time there is love, support, care, and a deep connection with one anothers’ sufferings and joys.
Some of you have called me father, some uncle, some brother, some friend, some facilitator. Whatever my role in TLS is, I just want to do it well. I want to do whatever I can to help TLS be the kind of place we’ve tasted more than once that is beautiful, inviting, full of nutrition, and satisfying. I apologize for those times I’ve failed. I promise, and I’m committed to this, that I only want to learn and get better at this.
- Our brave attempts to eat and share together is beyond any predictions I could have made.
- I couldn’t have guessed the love and support I feel or the joy I experience when I come to this table.
- No one could have foreseen the awkward moments we have when someone brings food we’ve never seen before or don’t like.
- We couldn’t have known that sometimes the food we bring to the table is neglected or rejected.
- Sometimes the food we make together doesn’t turn out as well as we’d planned. It doesn’t look anything like the pictures. But then many times it’s far better than anyone could have dreamed!
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I don’t have a plan!
That’s right! I have no agenda. I don’t have a goal I’m pushing TLS towards. Sure, I want more members because I want us to provide what we are enjoying for more people. But I have no idea how we’re going to become better than we already are or how we’re going to get others to feel invited.
We’ve been cooking for over two years now. If someone told me before I started that this is what TLS would look like, I wouldn’t have believed them. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible. Not even remotely!
This is what got me into trouble at my last church: I refused to organize the spontaneous beauty of our community. I wouldn’t relegate it into a vision, goal or agenda. I kept my hands off the wheel and let the community develop and define itself. Whatever was its recipe, much of it was secret and mysterious. But, I saw its death in the controlling and packaging of it. And that’s exactly what happened. I just found out last week that the church there is officially dead and closing its doors forever.
I know some of us experience frustration because I will not control what happens on TLS. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way or mine. It often reminds me of Hell’s Kitchen. It frequently feels willy-nilly and chaotic and messy. It sometimes even gets out of control. There’s swearing and laughter and irreverence and defensiveness and hurt and anger and frustration and pain.
But the meals we make!
Am I naive or are we not the best tasting community we’ve ever had?
You cannot plan that.
With love and to better meals… your friend (or father, uncle, brother, friend, facilitator, whatever…)