On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines.(sub wine/best meats for shredded chicken and mac-and-cheese)
Yesterday was my turn to make dinner. I made shredded chicken, baked mac-and-cheese, and salad (actually Frances made the salad, mostly with greens from our garden). I called it Jake’s Soulfood. Lots of butter and cheese. Yum. We have these community dinners at our building once a week. At the dinner, folks who can make it come down stairs to the common area and eat together. It’s not a complicated system.
I live at Co:Here, which is a housing building our church (with lots of partners) built on our parking lot. We have all the community accoutrement: garden, kitchen (with feasting table made from the cedar tree that use to live by our parking lot), patio, library, and lounge/big room (I can’t remember what we call it). Lots of small little things that help with making a building home. Vancouver has some big giant problems: isolation and lack of affordable housing are two of the most obvious. Co:Here is our little community’s way of trying to heal those big hurts.
Allow me to switch hats from resident to pastor while I wax theological for brief paragraph. The bible is full of God trying to heal the brokenness in the world. God’s main way of doing this is bringing together a people who can know and enjoy the radness of God together. Community is where and how God wants to hangout with folks and bring about abundant flourishing. When’s God’s special community got the boot from their home, God told them to do home in the new place they found themselves in. God told them to plant gardens, get married, have babies, and to seek the peace of that new place. God was about a community coming together to make home and bless the folks around them. In the midst of all crazy pictures at the end of the whole story, is a big wedding party. All the weird and peculiar peoples from all of the everywhere are brought together to chow-down and enjoy and worship the lamb (which is Jesus, who is God). My conclusion from this brief analysis of the entire bible is that God is very happy to bless people with abundant flourishing in the context of community, food, and home.
Hat switch: back to resident.
Yesterday, God was very happy. First, there was the harvesting of the garden--which set the mood(1). There was gonna be some God-Creation romance happening! Then there was the people in a place that was home, gathered together around a table with food. Community was bubbling up… Like the absurd amount of cheese on the mac. And then Meredith of-the-3rd-floor showed-up, raised her left hand, and everybody (who already knew) flipped out about the new bling that resided on her ring finger. When Derek, the bridegroom-and-Co:Here-resident-to-be, joined the party, the two were given hugs, flowers and two balloons that lilted behind as the elated couple enjoyed a promenade around the table.
And then Glory (also of the 3rd floor) came down. Glory, who had just heard that Canada was cool with him calling it his home for good. Glory, who had been afraid of getting the boot from his home. Glory, who had just found out that he didn’t have to be afraid anymore. Glory, who had become more smile than man, came to the table. As the walking smile entered, the banqueters sang Oh Canada; and revelled in the line “God keep our land GLORY-ious and free.” That was a sacramental moment. That wedding supper picture at the end of the book showed-up at 1723 Victoria Drive on June 6th, 2018. The not-yet became now.
In doing the simple good of trying seek the peace of Vancouver by increasing affordable housing and lessening isolation, our little church community created a sacred space where the not-yet, that we’re all longing for, could become now, at least for a moment. It really is simple(2), like mac-and-cheese. The simplicity in no way takes away from the goodness. Co:Here is comfort-food goodness. A meal shared in a home by a community. That’s the recipe. Turns out it’s one of God’s favorites.
(1) One of the other cool features of our community space is that the lights are on dimmer switches, so we can match the lighting to the mood of each occasion.
(2) In using the term simple, I in no way mean that this Co:Here business is easy. Lot’s of hard and worthwhile things are quite simple. I know how to lose weight: eat healthy/less and exercise. That’s simple, but the simplicity doesn’t necessarily make it easy. Especially with the deliciousness of other simple things like mac-and-cheese