What is the Feast?
One of the many privileges I have had as a youth leader in Luton is that as well as leading an amazing group of young people, I sit on the leadership team of an organisation called ‘The Feast’. Most of you have probably never heard of ‘The Feast’ well it was set up with the key purpose of bringing together teenagers from different faiths and cultures to build friendships, explore faith and hopefully, change lives.
The Feast creates a safe place where young people can eat together, socially interact and share their thoughts and feelings in an honest way; it facilitates discussion with the young people sharing about their own faith or discussing current issues from a faith perspective. In this process, the groups are not out to convert each other, instead they are given the opportunity to build friendships and find common ground with those from different faiths and communities. Many of us, despite living in Luton, may never have set foot into the home of someone from a different faith background, never shared a meal with them, never tried to build anything more than a superficial relationship with them.
My question to us is why not? What stops us from building relationships with people who are very different to us? Could it be fear? A lack of time? A feeling of superiority? We certainly cannot blame a lack of opportunity. Living in Luton we have opportunities to build friendships with people of different faiths that so many other places don’t have – are we making the most of it?
Jesus and his death on the cross is the bridge between us and God. In the same way, we are called to be bridge builders across the many chasms that exist in our society. The Feast is a vehicle that allows us to do this.
Why is the Feast important?
We as a nation are facing a time of increasing division between people of different religions and cultures. From American politics we are bombarded with images of building walls and travel bans and as a nation ourselves we are living through what Brexit looks like, what it means to be British and the horrific attacks committed by broken people in London and in Manchester. It is into this mixed up, uncertain climate that the work of the Feast is so valuable.
The story of the Good Samaritan is one that should provoke and challenge us as people of faith. Here was a man who stopped to help a neighbour, a Jewish neighbour who no doubt saw him as inferior, who would undoubtedly have disregarded him in any other social context. This however didn’t stop the Samaritan, he sought no recognition, no glory – he was simply motivated by love and compassion for his fellow man. It is this story that Jesus told which lies at the heart of the Feast. Demonstrating in a tangible way what it means to bring the Kingdom of God to earth.
Many of us living in Luton would say we live amongst people of many ethnicities and religions, however, the reality is that many of us simply live parallel lives with them. We may see them and perhaps be acquaintances with some but really we share little relationship, depth or community with those from other religions. Most of us may never have even been into the home of someone from another faith or ethnicity.
How can you get involved?
- Pray for the work that the Feast does with young people in our town, particularly during these times when we need to stand for building relationships not walls. When love and peace should motivate us not hatred and fear.
- Volunteer your time to support the work of the Feast
- Donate to the work of the Feast
For more information go to www.thefeast.org.uk
Written by Linda Geevanathan