Since I don't have committee meetings to attend (yay!), I had an opportunity to share a meal with the folks who come to the South Kitsap Family Kitchen. I think this is ministry at its best--I was humbled by what was shared tonight, because our situations can change in an instant and need the grace and hospitality of strangers. We hope we don't end up in that kind of place--but it's possible.
Tonight the folks from Port Orchard United Methodist served One Pan Lasagna, garlic bread, green salad, potato salad, fruit cocktail and frosted brownies for dessert to approximately 60 people (my estimate). The POUMC folks were a grace-filled group and showed great admiration and respect for the people of FLCC. I am thankful FLCC has the facilities to host the meal. I met people who were just getting by. I also met a couple where it was just like looking in the mirror--a combination rewind of past experiences and wondering a few months ago whether I would get a congregation to serve. I saw another couple I've seen walking around Port Orchard, trying to maneuver their way through public assistance services.
What distinguished this meal from other food ministries in which I have participated is the family-style setting. The circular tables and passing the food around encourages relationship building and basic social graces. To have to look someone in the eye to receive your bread emphasizes our shared humanity. We passed our food along, sat in silence for a few minutes, then chatted about the weather--the change in seasons foretold by the prophetic wind, the various severity of rain showers, and what weather we might face in the weeks and months to come. Then we moved on to various hardships, then thankfulness for the meal and the conversation. Four of the people at my table were regulars since the summer, and they have become familiar acquaintances--sitting together each meal and reconnecting--coming from different homes. The entire table seemed glad I was there--but they were definitely checking me out. It takes awhile to ascertain people's motivations. I'm not exactly sure what motivated me to go to the South Kitsap Family Kitchen tonight--or maybe my motivation was simple. I believe in what God can do through people, and many people have come together to make this meal possible for others in need. It was a basic and blessed evening, doing simple things we all need to do--eat and talk.