Middle School Lunch Room Ethics

A few weeks ago our gospel passage for Eucharist was from Luke 14, an account of what I imagine was a very uncomfortable dinner party with Christ as the guest.  Luke tells us Christ watched the guests elbow their way to the places of honor at the host’s table, and He tells a parable that goes something like this, “If you go to a wedding, don’t chose the best place and make your host ask you to move to less honored place.  Instead, chose the worst place and wait for your host to invite you closer.”  I imagine it was awkward at that table after this, each guest recognizing himself in His story.  It got me thinking about lunch here, especially in the Middle School.  Most Middle Schools are like that Roman dinner table, kids sorted into groups based on the mysteries of popularity, the MS version of honor.  But not so much at All Saints’. I’ve seen an 8-year Saint give up his seat at a table full of friends to a new student, knowing that new student would be more comfortable there and that he himself could find another table with different friends.  I’ve seen a 7th grader insist that a LS teacher cut in the line even though his lunch period is very short and the teacher said it would be fine.  I’ve seen an 8th grader stay after the crowd and pick up trays his classmates dropped as they rushed to class, knowing that the dishwashers would have to do it if he didn’t take it on.  Every day I see our students living out what Jesus said, “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  Humbling themselves in service to their classmates and their school.

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