For him only our very best
This will impress you. I have successfully attained the food safety and hygiene for catering at level 2. The news broke yesterday afternoon. Now I can face the world with equanimity, not least EU Regulation 852/2004. Before you go out and buy your congratulations card, all six of us from Christ Church made the grade. Together we did the day course in Skelmersdale just two months ago and I think we all found the course helpful and informative, even if it did start 90 minutes late! I went to make up the numbers - you never know when we need someone on site with the right qualification. For catering is now such an important component of our ministry at Christ Church. So much happens at Cafe Vista, often six days a week. Add to this the weekly Alpha meal and refreshments for special services and events. The next big one is the church’s bring and share Christmas lunch following the Nativity service on Sunday week, 22 December. However, the granddaddy of our catering ministry has to be the Luncheon Club, started by Ray Moore over 30 years ago. Each Wednesday 60 or so senior citizens are served with a three course meal. For many it is the highlight of the week. Only this Wednesday one member told me that when she goes home, she closes the door – and that’s it. This Wednesday I was privileged to attend the their Christmas meal – and it is was truly magnificent. I attach some of the photos – there are more on our church’s Facebook page. Pauline and her team simply excelled themselves. I reflected no hotel in the region could match the quality of food, the splendour of the décor, the class of entertainment and above all the warmth of the welcome. It was simply outstanding. No doubt it all took a lot of hard work and more, a huge investment in imagination and planning. For very simply the message of the meal was “You are worth it.” Not just an hour or so with a catering pack and digging out last year’s tired decorations. No - when we serve in the Lord’s name “Nil satis nisi optimum.” One of the big surprises of the Gospel is how God identifies with the lowly and vulnerable. So as Jesus concludes his story of the sheep and the goats with the punch line: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 25:35) Even the righteous are surprised “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? All they could see was a person in need. For the message of the parable is that God identifies totally with those ‘who are hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison’. And to this extent - “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Clearly God deserves our very best – and as Jesus teaches, so do those whom we are called to serve, especially to those in need. However, so often we are tempted to give minimum service at minimal cost, particularly to those at the bottom of the pile. But at the very bottom of the pile we find the King of kings. That revelation has to revolutionize how we operate. In one of our previous vicarages, we were served by a tradesman called Daryl. His name truly suited him for his watchword was (I’m not sure if I can write this): “Da rill do!” Sadly, that can so often be true of our ministry if we forget whom we are serving. For truly the message of Christmas is that God himself, the creator of this stunning creation, has decided to give himself totally, to offer us his very best. “Nil satis nisi optimum/ Nothing but the best is good enough".