Would you like some lasagna?
Not your typical Ash Wednesday greeting but it is what I found myself saying over and over again. The college students I work with offered a free meal of lasagna, salad and cookies to their classmates. We brought food and set a table with tablecloth and place settings. People came and got food and sat down. And they stayed seated, eating and talking.
Some were sitting at other tables and we took invited them to come over and get some food. And many did. After a while we took food around to where students were sitting.
“Would you like some lasagna?”
“Yes, I didn’t have lunch today.”
“No thank you.”
“Wait, can I change my mind? ”
When we selected this day to give food away, I didn’t notice it was Ash Wednesday. When the day came, I remembered that Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent,a season of prayer and fasting.
But Lent is also a time to look ahead to not just Good Friday, but also to Easter and to anticipate life in the age to come and the heavenly banquet.
I watched students who didn’t know each other, sit and eat together and I thought of what we often say at the Communion table, “ Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 13:29)
I thought about the students who said they didn’t have lunch and wondered if lunch was, in fact, the only meal they hadn’t had. And I thought of Jesus’ words, “ for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” (Matt 25:35).
I looked around that college commons area and realized it had become a thin place. A noisy thin place to be sure, full of food and conversation.
I wonder where I’ll stumble on a thin place this week?