This morning we went with some friends to a breakfast place. It is a very popular little restaurant and the Saturday morning line up was long. As I have previously blogged, Canadians seem to thrive in queues…or rather lines. They are a patient people. It was drizzling and so it was not a particularly fun time to be standing outside for 40 minutes. But time flew by as we chatted, caught up and discussed what we were going to eat. We were made to feel welcome in the line – umbrellas were offered and the restaurant hostess was warm and friendly. Through good service they had already created an atmosphere of anticipation and welcome.
The church can adopt this very simple and savvy philosophy of service: treating everyone well whether they are already seated at our table or waiting to get in. We must spend ourselves caring for those outside as well as those who are already eating at the table. The table is laid out for all as we, in the church, like to point out but have we got our umbrellas and warm greeting for those outside the walls. If we treat those without any revelation of God as we were treated this morning, then God’s place will be full. Bringing our communion to the street. Sharing it with the waiting multitude. Whetting their appetite for what is inside.
Our vision at Soulkitchen is like that. Too many have been turned away at the door and told that there is not a table available for them. Ignored. Not even given a decent sneak peek at the menu. We have given many the impression that the Christian life only starts when you are seated and inside.
Many years ago, my experience with God began when I was waiting in the line and someone came out with communion to me. They offered me love and compassion and understanding. I wasn’t made to feel that I was an outsider. The inside came out to serve me.
Of course, some will walk away no matter what. Don’t be discouraged in your service – keep serving the queue with quality hospitality.
Today, we were won over before we even sat down. They had won our hearts before we tasted the delicious food. Perfect culinary evangelism. We will be back.