As a clergy woman’s daughter I would find it baffling that mum would often invite the lonely, the isolated and those who smelt a bit of drink to share meal-times with us. These meals caused me to reflect on what was really important in life and I was transformed by these encounters.

In antiquity, the great and the good would issue dinner invitations which would perpetuate the power and status enjoyed by a few. Jesus challenged this way of behaving by showing that in God’s kingdom all were welcome, and made Himself unpopular because He chose to eat with people whom others excluded.

‘When he wanted fully to explain what his forthcoming death was all about, he didn’t give them a theory. He didn’t give them a set of scriptural texts. He gave them a meal.’ Tom Wright, Simply Jesus

In the quote above, Bishop Tom Wright is referring to the last meal Jesus had with his friends. At this meal, Jesus broke bread and wine to symbolise the way in which His own body would be broken and his blood spilt.

But because of Easter, the story of this meal does not end in His forthcoming death. As I write this we are in the middle of the season of Lent which is traditionally a time of choosing to give things up. In Lent we do this as a way of liberating
ourselves from all that stops us recognising and responding to our deeper spiritual needs. It is a period of emptying, but not just for the sake of going without, but so that we are ready to join in the Easter feast when it arrives.

We would love to invite you to attend a church near you over the Easter season, and if you come forward to receive the bread and wine, remember that this meal is a reminder that love and life have the final say, and you are included.

Rev Caroline Halmshaw