Thursday, December 27, 2007


"We do not eat alone, but in families, or sets of friends and comrades; and the table is the best centre of the friendships and of the domestic affections.” - Charles W. Elliot

"There are certainly many reasons why a feast is an appropriate image of God's Kingdom [kin-dom]: it is an event which necessarily requires community; it is an occasion of abundance, even extravagance; and it is also a time when the demands of daily existence are temporarily suspended, and one is given the opportunity to relax in the grace of the world. To feast is to be re-oriented. To feast is to experience simultaneously intimacy, community and divinity." - Michael Mills, Otherness in God's Kingdom

1 comment:

Doug said...

The line between feasting and conspicuous consumption is a tough one to draw the possibilities for self deception considerable.

The following news item from the Canberra Times 28 December catches a hint of what Christmas feasting might be about:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spent Boxing Day morning in Canberra dishing up bacon and eggs to homeless people and others in need, at a centre in Civic.
He did so without announcing the visit and without any media present, preferring to help out at the Early Morning Centre in a low-key way, accompanied only by a few security officers.

The centre is part of the Canberra City Uniting Church on Northbourne Avenue.

Open each weekday, the centre provides a free breakfast and referral service to those in need, with support from the ACT Government.

It received a call last week saying that the Prime Minister wanted to visit and successfully kept it under wraps while most of Canberra was sleeping off the excesses of Christmas Day or attending the Boxing Day sales.

Client referral officer Ashley Arthur was so impressed by Mr Rudd's visit he wrote a letter to The Canberra Times in appreciation, emphasising the Prime Minister had not wanted any fuss made of his gesture.

Mr Arthur said Mr Rudd seemed to want to attend the centre "as himself" rather than as the Prime Minister.

"He was very much at ease and everything was kept very casual," he said.

"I think he mentioned to another person here that he tried to do this kind of thing about once a month, to stay grounded and understand the issues on the ground."

Mr Rudd dished up breakfast between 7.30am and 8.30am and then spent time speaking to the people who wandered through the doors.

The centre usually caters for 30 to 90 people at breakfast, but only a handful attended yesterday, to find the casually-dressed Prime Minister, wearing an apron, working in the kitchen and delivering plates of food to the tables.

"They were quite surprised," Mr Arthur said.

"It was all positive. There was no anger or anything directed to him."

Mr Arthur said many of the people at the centre were keen to speak to Mr Rudd about his plans to improve dental care in Australia.

The centre has to serve soft food as part of its menu to account for the fact so many people have such poor dental health.

"He handed out the Boxing Day fare, eggs and bacon, a rare treat, and listened intently and with respect, while guests and fellow volunteers told him their life story and their commentary on how he was doing so far," Mr Arthur wrote in his letter.