The Best Supper


The Best Supper © Jan L. Richardson

This Sunday is World Communion Sunday. Established by the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1936 and originally called World Wide Communion Sunday, this day beckons us to be mindful that when we gather at the table, we celebrate not only with those present but also with sisters and brothers around the world.

The artwork above is a piece called The Best Supper. Inspired by the image of Wisdom’s Feast in Proverbs 9, this piece evokes the myriad meals that have fed me in body and soul. As I created this image, I was visited by memories of so many of the tables where I have found hospitality. Those memories are embedded among the pieces of this collage. Circling the table once again, I capture glimpses of those with whom I shared those sacred meals. I remember how we savored every scrap, how we lingered long after the last bite was consumed.

Table Blessing

To your table
you bid us come.
You have set the places,
you have poured the wine,
and there is always room,
you say,
for one more.

And so we come.
From the streets
and from the alleys
we come.

From the deserts
and from the hills
we come.

From the ravages of poverty
and from the palaces of privilege
we come.

Running,
limping,
carried,
we come.

We are bloodied with our wars,
we are wearied with our wounds,
we carry our dead within us,
and we reckon with their ghosts.

We hold the seeds of healing,
we dream of a new creation,
we know the things
that make for peace,
and we struggle to give them wings.

And yet, to your table
we come.
Hungering for your bread,
we come;
thirsting for your wine,
we come;
singing your song
in every language,
speaking your name
in every tongue,
in conflict and in communion,
in discord and in desire,
we come,
O God of Wisdom,
we come

Prayer © Jan L. Richardson from In Wisdom’s Path: Discovering the Sacred in Every Season.


Update:
Thanks to everyone who has requested permission to use this blessing or “The Best Supper” artwork. For worship services and related settings, you are welcome to use the blessing without requesting permission; all that’s needed is to include a line with this info:

© Jan L. Richardson. janrichardson.com

To use “The Best Supper” image, please visit this page at janrichardsonimages.com. Your use of janrichardsonimages.com helps make the ministry of The Painted Prayerbook possible. Thank you!

Prints of The Best Supper and other images are available by visiting the Art Prints page at janrichardson.com. We have greeting cards, too!

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63 Responses to “The Best Supper”

  1. Nancy Mann Says:

    Hi Jan,

    I would like to read your poem as part of my meditation this Sunday at
    Waterloo Kitchener United Mennonite Church. I would, of course, credit your
    authorship.

    Do I have permission to do this?

    Nancy

  2. Scott Mayberry Says:

    Jan,
    I too would like to use your poem as part of our Worship Service this Sunday at Stinson UMC in southern WV. I will, of course, proudly footnote your creativity if you will offer me your permission.
    Grace and Peace,
    Scott

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thanks, Scott—I’d be happy for you to use this on Sunday–many thanks. If there’s anybody else who would like to use this poem/prayer, please feel free. If you use it in printed form, thanks for including this line at the end of it:

      © Jan L. Richardson, In Wisdom’s Path: Discovering the Sacred in Every Season

      Blessings to everyone who’s preparing for worship on Sunday!

  3. Shaun Whitehead Says:

    Greetings Jan!

    What a gift you have given us! This poem is a blessing. Like others, I’m preparing for worship this Sunday. I’d like to use your poem in our Progressive Christian Worship Service on the campus of St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York. As others have mentioned, I will of course credit your authorship as well.

    Is that ok?

    Peace to you,
    Shaun

  4. Alberta Ballantine-Dickson Says:

    Hello Jan,
    I have just stumbled upon this web site and am inspired by your poem.
    I am requesting permission to use it as a call the the Table this year or next year for Holy Communion at Oak Bank United Church in Manitoba, Canada.
    Your work will be attributed. Thank you and blessings, Alberta

  5. Susan Ashton Says:

    I, like the others who have sought your permission to use this poem, find it quite moving. I am at Ocean Avenue Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, and will of course attribute it to you.

    Blessings,
    Susan

  6. Judy Ruth Williamson Says:

    Dear Jan,
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful poem and what appears to be a collage with the world. I am seeking permission to share your poem with others as I speak. I wish to read the poem and show the collage at Stephen Minister worship and Food Pantry volunteer training at Arborlawn United Methodist Church on Sunday, October 4, 2009. I would like to refer to the poem and collage thereafter to remind volunteers about what they are really doing as they work in the Food Pantry. I will be certain to give credit to you.
    Continue in all God’s work.
    Judy Ruth Williamson

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Many thanks, Judy Ruth. I’m pleased for you to use the poem and collage in this way.

      For anyone who would like to use the image “The Best Supper” in worship or a related setting—for instance, on a worship bulletin or projected during a service—I welcome you to visit janrichardsonimages.com, a website designed to make my artwork easily accessible for use in worship, education, etc. Your use of this website is a crucial form of patronage that helps make my ministry, including this blog, possible. Thank you!

  7. Karen Gibson Says:

    Jan,
    I too would like to use your poem this Sunday. Your Poem is beautiful, and captures the essence of World Communion so well. I would like to use it as an invitation to the table at the beginning of Holy Communion also. Thank you for your generosity and your creative gift. Blessings, Karen

  8. Lisa Mollitor Says:

    Jan, love the poem! We would like to use this tomorrow. We will most like make it a responsive reading. How beautiful. You are a blessing. Lisa

  9. Barbara Marston Says:

    This is a wonderful poem I would like to use at Community Baptist Church this Sunday, with your permission. All of your work is so wonderful!

  10. David Says:

    Hi Jan. This is a beautiful prayer. I would like your permission to use it in our service tomorrow at St. Andrews /St. James Presbyterian churches in Tisdale and Melfort Saskatchewan Canada.
    Blessings to you!!!
    David

  11. Patricia Wagner Says:

    Hi Jan, Amazing prayer. I would like to use it for World Communion Sunday at our church here in Columbus, and for a conference we UMs are having in West Ohio on Covenant in the Midst of Conflict.
    Two of your classmates are in my congregation: Ed and Dee Stickley-Miner. They are always happy when I cite you in my sermons!!

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thanks so much, Patricia! I would be delighted for you to use the prayer in your upcoming service and conference—that’s lovely. Thanks for including this:

      © Jan L. Richardson, In Wisdom’s Path: Discovering the Sacred in Every Season

      How fun to hear word of Dee and Ed. Please give them my greetings.

      Thank you again, and many blessings to you!

  12. Sharon Says:

    Hello Jan,

    I love your prayer and would like permission to use it in our World Communion service next weekend at Jerusalem United Church of Christ in Palmerton, PA.

    Thank you for the beauty you see and share.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Hi, Sharon—

      Many kind thanks! I’d be delighted for you to use the prayer. Many blessings to you and your congregation as the World Communion service approaches. And thanks for your splendid blog—I am pleased to make its acquaintance!

      Peace,
      Jan

  13. Marilyn Rauch Says:

    thank you for the beautiful poem. I plan to use it at our October 3 World Communion Sunday service. We are United in Faith Church, a federated congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ. I appreciate your art and your writing.

  14. Suzanne Says:

    Dear Jan, Such a beautiful prayer, I would like permission to print and use it in my service next weekend for World Communion Sunday.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thanks very much, Suzanne! I’d be pleased for you to use the prayer—that’s lovely. I’m happy for anyone to make use of it—no need to ask permission, though it’s always great to hear where the prayer finds its way—all that’s needed is to include the credit line (© Jan L. Richardson, In Wisdom’s Path: Discovering the Sacred in Every Season). Blessings to you and your church as you celebrate World Communion Sunday. Thank you again.

  15. Magdalene6127 Says:

    Hello Jan,

    What they said! The poem is gorgeous. I’d like to use it for worship this Sunday at my church in upstate NY.

    Peace,

    Mags

  16. Susie W-T Says:

    Hello Jan,

    Count me among those who would like very much to use your poem/prayer in worship, with full attribution, of course. For what it’s worth, that means two small congregations in southern Vermont (UCC). no need to reply, as you have already given that permission … just wanted you to know.

    with gratitude,
    Susie

  17. Marianna Harris Says:

    Jan: I’d like to use your prayer this Sunday for Worldwide Communion at St. Andrew’s United Church in North Vancouver. Marianna Harris

  18. B. Hess Says:

    I would like permission to use your poem for World Wide Communion Sunday, Oct 3.
    Thank You,
    Becky

  19. Bridget Flad Says:

    Thanks for your powerful work, Jan! I’m going to use the image and ask the kids in the children’s sermon to compare it to a classical Last Supper piece. Hopefully, they’ll see that people are around the table, multi-ethnic, gender inclusive, etc., and then we’ll talk about how big God’s table is. Thanks for a great teaching tool!

  20. Pastor Kris Garey Says:

    Hi Jan,
    thanks as always for this website. I hope it will be ok to use your poem on this Sunday as part of worship. I know I know…that means tomorrow, almost today as it is late on Saturday. I will give credit to you (it seems I fairly often mention your name as a resource). I hope to have your blessing on using this poem.
    I’m still in final planning stages, and didn’t realize until tonight that it is World Communion Sunday, and want to include a reflection on that.
    Peace to you,
    Pastor Kris Garey

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thanks, Kris! I’m on the road and just received your lovely comment. I’m happy for anyone to use the poem in worship, no permission needed; all that’s needed is to include the credit line. Hope you and your congregation had a good World Communion Sunday. Thank you again, and many blessings!

  21. Anne Rosebrock Says:

    Jan – I am hoping to use this prayer in worship at the Meridian Street United Methodist Church on October 2, 2011 with credit to you printed in the bulletin. It is beautiful and just right for the service we are planning. Thank you for your creativity and the many ways your writing has influenced my ministry over the years.

  22. Mary Beth Tuttle Says:

    Jan, may I borrow your prayer for this Sunday at the Holmesville Church of the Brethren? It is beautifully written.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thanks, Mary Beth! I’m delighted for you to use the prayer. Anyone is welcome to use it in worship—all that’s needed is to include this brief credit line:

      © Jan L. Richardson, In Wisdom’s Path: Discovering the Sacred in Every Season. janrichardson.com

      Thank you again, and blessings to you and your congregation!

  23. arii Says:

    Hi Jan,
    I would love to use your poem in this Sunday’s service. Would you permit me to use it please.
    blessings
    Arii

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Hi, Arii—Sure, I’d be pleased for you to use the poem, thank you! All you need to do is include the credit line. Many blessings to you and your church as you celebrate this Sunday! Thanks again.

  24. Nancy Phipps Says:

    Jan,
    A long line of requests. I too would like to use this on Sunday.
    Do I have permission?
    Nancy

  25. Carole Hoke Says:

    Again, permission, please, Jan. There are three churches served by my partner and myself. We would like permission for all three World Communion Services. Thanks. And, thanks, too, for your art work and your ministry of sharing so many wonderful ideas.
    Shalom
    Carole

  26. karen ladd Says:

    Dear Jan;
    I just discovered your wonderful prayer! May I use it at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Pittsboro, NC on August 19, 2012?
    peace, Karen Ladd

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thank you, Karen! Yes, I’d be delighted for you to use the prayer. If it appears in printed form, thanks for including a brief credit line:

      © Jan L. Richardson, In Wisdom’s Path: Discovering the Sacred in Every Season. janrichardson.com

      Thanks again, and many blessings to you in these summer days!

  27. Bob Bushong Says:

    Beautiful, Jan. Thank you.

  28. Laura Says:

    Dear Jan,

    I so appreciate your beautiful art – I love the circular table and your words. We will be celebrating World Communion this Sunday, October 7, at Covenant Church in Houston, TX. We would like to use your prayer as a unison opening prayer.

    In thanksgiving for your work,
    Laura Mayo

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Many kind thanks, Laura. I’m delighted for you to use the prayer—that’s lovely. If it’s printed, thanks for including a line that incorporates this info:

      © Jan L. Richardson. janrichardson.com

      Thank you again! I wish you and your congregation many blessings as you celebrate World Communion Sunday.

  29. janice johnson Says:

    I am another pastor who would like to use your beautiful prayer in our World Communion Sunday worship. May I have your persmission? – blessings.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thanks, Janice! Yes, very happy for you to use it. Blessings to you and yours as you celebrate World Communion Sunday.

  30. Linda Hale Says:

    May I use this wonderful prayer as part of my sermon on Sunday? With acknowledgement, of course. Rev. Dcn. Linda Hale

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thanks, Linda! I’m very pleased for you to use it this Sunday. Blessings to you and those you worship with.

  31. Stephanie Woodin Says:

    Hello Jan,

    I wanted to thank you for such a wonderful, spirit filled poem and artwork.

    May we have your permission to read this poem and include the table graphic you created with acknowledgement in our bulletin at this Sunday’s World Communion Service?

    Many thanks for your consideration!

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Hi, Stephanie–

      Thanks so much! I’d be delighted for you to use the poem this Sunday. I’d be very happy for you to use the image as well. You can purchase a download of it here:

      http://www.janrichardsonimages.com/details.php?gid=61&pid=138

      Thanks for including a line with this info for the blessing and artwork:

      © Jan L. Richardson. janrichardson.com

      Please let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything I can be helpful with. Many blessings, and thank you again!

  32. Sara Lugn Says:

    Thank you for your poems.

    I would like to use your poem as our communion prayer at our service tomorrow at First Christian Church, Lincoln NE. I will give you credit.

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