“When [Jesus] was at the table with them, [Jesus] took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.” Luke 24:30 (NRSV)
Over the holiday this past weekend, I watched one of my all-time favorite films, “The Help.” While a movie recounting deep racial tensions during the times that we are living through can still be difficult to watch, there are so many redeeming things that I truly love about it.
I will tell you, one of the scenes that makes it all worthwhile for me is one of the closing scenes when the character Celia Foote surprises her maid Minny Jackson by cooking all night to prepare an absolutely overflowing feast. There is fried chicken, vegetables, biscuits, desserts, sweet iced tea and more. Celia’s husband, Johnny, comes home from work and surprises Minny (he has “supposedly” not known that Minny was working for them). Johnny acknowledges all that Minny has done to support his spouse and assures Minny that she will have a job with them as long as she wants one. After kind words, and a few tears, a black maid in Mississippi in the 1960s sits to feast on food prepared for her by a white employer. I cry every time.
This past Sunday, during Communion, I could not get that image out of my mind while assisting Deb as she consecrated the elements. I wondered about all of the “mini altars” in homes throughout the country where our congregation was gathered in the name of the One who welcomes all.
I thought about my own grief and low-grade depression at not being able to see the congregation that I serve and love. I thought about those who feel lonely at the table by themselves without the beloved community.
So, I have begun to envision the continued social distancing like the end of the movie “The Help.” We have to get through the difficult parts first, but then we will get to the beautiful scene when everyone is gathered around the table once again.
And I assure you, I will cry then, too.
Rev. Dr. Dawson B. Taylor
Prayer Focus: Those experiencing racial injustice in our nation