This has, so far, been an interesting and fascinating week - and it's only Wednesday! Just had a good chat with Jim Gordon over tea-time who has restored my faith in theological education. Jim is the Principal of the Scottish Baptist College and I happen to be at Regents Park in Oxford because our regular Team Leaders meetings are placed to meet the various Baptist College Principals.
It was our 30th wedding anniversary on monday, so Maggie and I went out for a meal - and a really good one too at Loch Fyne in Bristol. Of course, it tasted all the better because it cost us very little for reasons I wont go into.... but they are legal.
Then last night, it was Brassiere Blanc in Oxford to mark Pat Took's retirement. Pat, my colleague in London, will be sorely missed for many reasons, but basically because of who she is. It's difficult to believe I'm a Baptist Minister. I don't feel guilty about eating out in such good places, but I do sometimes look over my shoulder for fear someone will report me to Home Mission.
I'm glad we find Jesus eating out with friends and enemies alike on a regular, possibly frequent, basis. I think, if I read him rightly, he wasn't there primarily because of the quality of the food, or the price tag on the bill. I'm not sure he was there because of the quality of the relationships if they're to be tested at the start of the meal, but because of the potential quality which a meal provides an environment over which they can be created. Jesus sent out 72 to 'eat was is set before you' which hasn't been a challenge over the last two evenings, but that's not always the case. It's this food (and drink), which Jesus describes as the 'wages' of mission - one of my fears about our present day professionalisation of ministry is we quickly regard the wages we are worthy of in rather different terms.