The Banquet Prepared from the Foundation of the World

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Now gathered at your table, O God of all creation, and remembering Christ, crucified and risen, who was and is and is to come, we offer to you our gifts of bread and wine, and ourselves, a living sacrifice.

Pour out your Spirit upon these gifts that they may be the Body and Blood of Christ. Breathe your Spirit over the whole earth and make us your new creation, the Body of Christ given for the world you have made.

In the fullness of time bring us, with all your saints, from every tribe and language and people and nation, to feast at the banquet prepared from the foundation of the world.

Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, t o you be honor, glory, and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.

from Eucharistic Prayer 2, Enriching Our Worship I, pp. 61-62

This Easter season, my conversations with kids have been sources of the greatest inspiration. The latest came when I was discussing with twelve and thirteen year olds what happens in the Eucharist. I offered them various interpretations of the meaning of the ritual: our participation – by remembering – in the Last Supper, the presence of Christ in the others gathered, the unity of the Eucharistic community.

I said, “Although, you’re probably not thinking about all that. Maybe you’re focused on the idea of Christ’s body and blood, or on a moment of calm and quiet.”

“I’m just thinking about having a piece of that yummy bread,” said one girl.

We all laughed. In our community, we share homemade honey whole wheat bread for communion, and it is indeed very yummy.

Then another kid asked me, “What are you thinking about when you are up there praying?”

I thought for a moment before uncapping my trusty dry-erase marker to draw the arc of salvation history.

“I’m thinking about everything God has done, from creation, to Jesus, to now, and into the future. I’m thinking about the feast we will all share at the end of time. As the prayer says, the banquet prepared since the foundation of the world. To me, when we share the bread and wine it’s like a little foretaste of that heavenly meal.”

A boy said, “That’s like a dinner God’s been cooking thousands of years.” He cracked a crooked smile, obviously meaning the comment playfully.

But his metaphor struck me as utterly fresh. I guess I’d always imagined God as the host of the banquet, not the chef. This boy gave me a new image, one which as a woman and a person who loves to cook (though I have little time for it these days), I could truly appreciate. God stirring the pot, adding the seasoning, slaving over a hot stove so that, at the end of time, all of creation might sit down together in peace to feast.

– Amber Belldene

The next time someone cooks you a meal, consider what a sacred gift lovingly prepared food is, and perhaps even kiss the cook. Or share an image of a wonderful meal, no matter how simple with the hashtag #banquet.

The next time you receive the Eucharist, imagine that banquet. What can you do to make your community and our world a little bit more like the heavenly feast?

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