Note: there will be no photos of this lovely lunch, because cell phones were not allowed. Which was just fine by me.
We were new in town, and our friend/chauffeur pointed out the local Hindu temple as we drove by. She told us that they serve a free lunch to anyone and everyone every Sunday.
We didn’t have to discuss it. We were going.
And so, on our first Sunday in town, after Mass, we found our way over to the temple. We waited outside on the veranda, sipping chai tea and listening to bells and music as inside the ceremony came to an end.
More and more people appeared from the parking lot, and we jumped into the quickly lengthening line. Curries, rice, kiwi, and coconut treats filled our plates, and we chatted with some ladies visiting from Missouri as we ate. I bonded with one over a shared admiration for Maria Montessori.
“Excuse me! Miss! Please put your cell phone away!” A young girl in line was reprimanded. Screen free, community curry picnic? I was hooked.
After eating, we took a walk around the grounds and met a young guy who helped in the garden where some of the food was grown.
We peeked into the kitchen, and told ourselves that next week we would jump in sooner to help wash up. I admired the beautiful, large, and prominent image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Everyone loves her.
Guys, this experience seriously inspired me: a spiritual community, welcoming the wider community to share a delicious, traditional, home grown and cooked meal, with everyone pitching in to clean up. I love it.
That afternoon, on a blissful mountain hike, I decided I would make this kind of meal happen in my own community, wherever that is, someday. I hate the word “someday” because it leaves so much room for cop out. But I am putting it out there so that you readers will hold me accountable!
This is what my vision looks like:
Hot pierogies, homemade sauerkraut, soup. And cookies.
Right after Sunday Mass.
Everyone is invited, Catholic or not.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for the children.
Community involvement in every step, from pierogi making days before, to serving, to washing up, to drinking tea together at the end.
What Do You Think??
Does your community do anything like this? Do you have any ideas for me??
This is going to happen.
And as long as I am lucky enough to live near a Hindu temple that will invite me to a curry lunch every Sunday, I will eat a curry lunch every Sunday.
And be forever grateful.