Food for Thought from our Pastoral Assistant

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Lunch club 8

This is my final Lunch Club!

For the past 4 years, I have been working as Pastoral Assistant for Alton Methodist Church, to support our minister, Keith, as he worked as Superintendent for a very large area: the Hampshire and Surrey Border Circuit: HSBC for short.

Keith's job here ends this summer, and so does mine.

Reflecting on the many Lunch Clubs and those taking part, has prompted me to ask, "Why?"

A few weeks ago, Keith spoke about how important sharing a meal is in the Christian faith, so does that bring people here? Is it because at £3.50 it's a cheap deal for 2 courses; because it means one less meal to cook at home; because it offers company rather than eating alone? Perhaps it is a combination of these factors

However the church offers hospitality at lunch club here once a fortnight also because of our Christian faith, hoping that as gursts absorb the nutrients of the food, they will also absorb something of the gospel.

'Eating' in a church is not the same as dining in a restaurant, and hopefully that difference is apparent. Christianity doesn't offer an a la carte menu, where you nibble on the bits you fancy, but ignore the dishes you don't. The menu is fixed: love God and your neighbour as yourself.

This may sound like fast food: quick and easy, but in fact makes far more demands on us as Christians, and contains far more to digest.

Loving God means coming to understand that God accepts us, then wanting, because of that, to mirror our behaviour on the example of Jesus, living as he taught: having concern for those whom others walk by; offering hospitality to the stranger from another country; constantly checking what God would have us do, rather than just deciding what's best for us and our family, or what makes the most money! It is certainly NOT the quick and easy option, nor necessarily what "The Sun" or "The Daily Mail" would have us do — it can often feel like standing against the common tide..... but it does bring hope for the future, and the promise of eternal peace.

For dessert we offer the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. What wonderful ideals to be nourished by! However, these are "tough cookies", that we need help with. Having a relationship with God strengthens each of us in our striving towards these "cherries on the cake" — whether you are diabetic or not!

If this all seems a lot to swallow, we now have August to digest this little bit of gospel. The next Lunch Club meets here in church on the second Tuesday of September.

If you would like to chew over what I've been talking about, why not discuss it with those who provide the meals here, with Helen Jesty or me, or come along to Sunday services to find out more?

Meanwhile the church family at Alton Methodist prays that all who come will feel nourished by the food we provide in body AND in soul.

Amen
Karen Booker

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