The most clear and immediate reflection of a successful gathering is that people linger. Toward the end of our first Sunday Supper last weekend, as I stood back by the baptismal font gazing out into the nave of the church, this was my view: round tables with crumpled napkins and empty plates and cups. Vestiges of salad, bread and cookies. Tables that had hosted a satisfying meal. And people. Even though the evidence clearly indicated that the eating part of the event was over, the guests remained. There was talking and laughing; some individuals moved from table to table, settling in to conversation with a new group each time. Our space—God’s space—had a late afternoon glow of contentment.
The idea for Sunday Supper had been percolating here at Holy Apostles before I was called, and it was also an enthusiasm I brought with me from a similar monthly meal we instituted at the church I served before. So last Sunday was a number-of-dreams come true. Both church and soup kitchen staff (with friends!) were well represented. Parishioners attended, as well as community members from a number of neighboring residences and organizations. Everyone brought enthusiasm and hearts for hospitality to the event. It was beautiful.
As we move into Holy Week, we enter a time of heightened awareness. We know the drama, both familiar and new each year. And at the center of this life-giving narrative is relationship. How do those in the Gospel narrative understand God reaching out to them? How do they react? And as they sort that out, how do they engage one another? The questions for us are extension of the same: how do our relationships with God and one another work through our experience of Holy Week? Are we willing to attend the time with open hearts? Will we linger in the recounting of God’s redemptive love for us?