Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Eating together to share stories and set up signs

Yesterday I was intrigued to read a post on Deirdre Good's splendid blog On not being a sausage which just read mmmm... if you clicked on the link you went here. Here's a taster of what you find:

“With any decent form of teaching,” says Good, a professor of New Testament at the General Theological Seminary, “you’ve got to show a form of hospitality.”
Cooking dinner for your class (and holding class in your house) may sound extreme, but Good was simply putting two and two together: she enjoys cooking, and many of her evening students would be coming from out of town needing dinner.
In that first class, one student looked down at his plate and quietly said to Good, “this is the best first seminar I’ve ever had.”

As a result I shared some thoughts about food and fellowship on Women in Ministries yesterday. Then today at work in a staff meeting Hielke Wolters encouraged us to think of different methodologies for our work, mentioning how as part of a fairtrade campaign young people had been encouraged to learn how to make chocolate; doing and tasting justice rather than reading and writing about it.
Later in small group work we discussed possible new methodologies for work on inter-religious dialogue. One of our ideas had to do with encouraging story-telling and then someone said, "Ah but the best stories are always told when you're having a meal".
And I remembered the wonderful inter-religious cous-cous we organised in the Pays de Gex just after I arrived in the pastorate, the women I met and talked with, the inspirational young couple who spent two years getting the different religious communities to agree to a day when they would all meet. The original plan had been for a prayer for peace together, but that didn't work out and the idea for the meal was born instead. That eating, talking and story-telling was our prayer for peace and had a more lasting impression than if we had only met to pray together.
Of course in the postmodern age this is just another story that I'm throwing down, but I realised today that there is a taste to story-telling, to learning and taking time to be with one another. It's the flavour of humanity learning in small, humble, significant and insignificant ways to live, laugh and share together. So perhaps the simple sign of hope humanity needs is a table spread in the face of cynicism, where others are awaited as potential friends from whom new things can be learned, with whom new memories can be made.

1 Comment:

My Wish said...

"Once you choose Hope, anything is possible."