owl feast

An owl feast …

According to the urban dictionary it’s a real term – who’d have thought? :)

“A meal that you have late at light/really early in the morning (between midnight and 3am). This feast is usually had by bartenders, graveyard shift workers or people who stay awake more often during the night than the day.This meal can be anything from breakfast to dinner, as long as its a meal, not a snack. “

The kind of feast I’m thinking of is something quite different.

Wherever Jesus went, there seemed to be a celebration; the tradition of festive meals at which Jesus welcomed all and sundry …

(N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus, p.43)

Celebration – the ability to celebrate milestones and our relationship with others – is really important. My parliament of owls knows how to celebrate, and hold feasts -and I’ve learned so much from them over the years. Celebrations need not be lavish – but they cannot be perfunctory.  We need to reflect well on what we are celebrating and why – and then do it!

Annually I join a fantastic community for their (“our”) annual Resurrection Breakfast. It’s not in a church but a home  – and we celebrate that Jesus lives! It’s a gathering where my heart stretches to breaking point – because of the joy and love that flows. It’s a fixed point in my diary – even if sometimes, like this year – I have to join the celebration from afar.

But there are other celebrations and feasts too.

Some are annual events – birthdays, anniversaries etc; and some are unique special occasions. My family celebrated our son’s engagement only a few weeks ago. He and his fiancee – in a long term relationship – are now committed to getting married. We will celebrate that milestone next year, God willing. It was lovely for the two families to spend time together around the table.

This year too- mid Lent – in the middle of a period of abstinence and fasting – there was a fantastic additional opportunity to celebrate and feast together as we celebrated the Baptism and Confirmation of Faith of a trio of young friends; and just this week we gathered together for another day of overflowing joy – and an additional celebratory feast  –  to do a celebratory victory dance – as these same Godchildren had been granted a leave of stay in Finland (for four years) as refugees. It’s not the end of the road and there will be plenty of challenges along the way- but it was a fantastically important milestone – and we chose to celebrate together!

But not all joined the feast.

At one level this owl knows that a feast is a feast, and something to celebrate is something to celebrate, and part of the art of celebrating well is not allowing the absence of friends to spoil the celebration.

But after the event, the parable of the prodigal Father (yes you read that right – it’s the Father in the parable of the Lost Son who loves lavishly) is on my mind. We read in Luke 15 that the father left the feast to search for his older son, who chose to stay outside and refused to join the feast.

 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.  -… we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

Wherever Jesus went, there seemed to be a celebration, but not all joined in.  We often interpret that parable to be about saved and unsaved people … but actually its often those who who are saved that most need Jesus to teach them how to celebrate life.

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