A Night to Remember

The Gospel writer John says that Jesus began and ended his earthly ministry with meals. From water turned to wine at a wedding feast, to fish grilled over a fire by the lake, and all in between, Jesus revealed himself over meals.

And so maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that when we sit down to a meal in his name, Jesus still reveals himself. It happened here this week when 150 guests sat down to a four-course meal served to them on fine china, on tables covered with white tablecloths and decorated with candles and fresh flowers.

This was a first for many, who often go to bed hungry, if they have a bed at all.

The meal was the dream of the late Ryan Cenk, who passed away two years ago at age 22. Ryan was a regular volunteer at the Tuesday night meals hosted by our friends at Outreached Arms. Ryan had battled brain cancer beginning when he was 10 months old. The disease affected his growth and had made it hard for him to see and walk. But he had the advantage of being great in Spirit. He became an Eagle Scout, an advocate for the physically challenged, and a volunteer for many causes that mattered to him.

Ryan’s dad, Bill, had kept the dream of “Ryan’s Night to Remember” alive. Atria’s Restaurant group catered the entire gourmet affair at no cost. A whole team of Atria’s cooks and servers donated their time. Another crew of volunteers, including First Church elders and deacons, worked tirelessly too. For four hours, the Williams’ family kept the dishwasher going. 

So it was indeed a night to remember; to remember a brave young man who revealed Jesus to the world through his life; to remember how Jesus revealed himself over a meal in a grand old church; and even to remember how Jesus revealed himself through a family sweating together around a dishwasher.

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