"I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat."
Recently, I accompany my husband, Danny, on a business trip. It is an environmental conference in the neighboring state of Tennessee, and Danny is asked to speak about EPA's Energy Star program in industry.
Although I am not officially part of the conference, I am invited to share in the meals provided. A continental breakfast of fruit and various breads is delicious, but doesn't stick with us very long. By lunchtime, we are ravenous!
We arrive early at the ballroom where the noonday meal will be served. The aromas wafting from the buffet tables intoxicates us.
I notice that all the many tables have already been tastefully set. Burgundy tablecloths. Crisp, white napkins enveloping silverware. Water and iced tea placed at every setting.
Perfect and inviting in every way.
And, with stomachs growling, we don't shirk from joining in with those first in line.
For, even with two buffet lines, serving over 300 participants will take time. I marvel as I help myself to chilled salad, steamy, mixed vegetables, creamy Alfredo, crispy, golden chicken, and freshly baked roll - how does a chef go about planning and preparing to feed such a crowd? It boggles my imagination!
Especially, when the food we eat is savory beyond our expectations. Quantity AND quality.
The buffet lines are monitored by unobtrusive servers clad in black. Not a chaffing dish nor desert tray goes empty before it is deftly removed and replaced by a full one.
Moving silently, gracefully, as if their steps are choreographed, the attendants are a wonder to watch.
And, to not even see coming.
It isn't a moment after my soiled dinner plate is set aside that it is spirited away by an observant server.
Giving the phrase "waited on, hand and foot" a whole new meaning.
No one who partakes of this luncheon leaves hungry. Appetites are satisfied. Needs are met.
And, all are energized for the busy afternoon sessions ahead.
When Jesus provided food for the 5,000, how do you think the people reacted?
Will you join me in prayer?
Thank you, Father, for sending Your Son, Jesus, the Bread of Life, to dwell among us and save us from our sins. When we partake of the Holy Eucharist, in remembrance of His body given and His blood shed for us, may we be filled with the Holy Spirit and energized to serve others in His precious name. Amen.
Psalms 97, 99, (100) or 94 (95)
1 Corinthians 11:17-34