Around 10:00 pm everyone finished the final course and were ready to leave. Father came into the kitchen and told us he was surprised the Bishop stayed so late because he had a packed schedule and his day began early. He also told our pastor how great it was he had parishioners who cared enough to be of service to the parish under adverse circumstances (not his exact words but close in meaning). I thought the Bishop was gracious to bear with us through the not so serene evening and stay to the end. In fact all seemed in good spirits even though the dinner was not as perfect as I hoped. The carrots were over cooked and dry and the broccoli mushy, the Cornish hen wasn’t crispy, the steak was well done but the sauce and mushrooms were scant after the second time in the oven. Probably the best dish was the pasta penne and mozzarella with tomatoes and fresh basil.
Father thanked us profusely and sent three hens, a piece of steak, some cake and unopened prosecco home with us. Looking back on the evening I believe great good came to us from the experience of cooking for our Bishop. My husband and I glimpsed the true humility of the man behind the pomp and power. As our pastor had mentioned our Bishop was a simple man who loved growing vegetables in his garden. Through him that same evening a group of young people became members of the body of Christ and received the Holy Spirit. I have always thought the nature of the work, not only of bishops but of all priests as well, is in a way humbling. They represent Christ Himself.
We left the rectory exhausted but enlightened; when you cook for people, it isn’t the food but those you serve that matters most. Some days later we received a letter from the Bishop thanking us, reminding me of those I need to thank: first of all our pastor for trusting me with this project, two women who sincerely offered to help, my friend, the best cook I know, another friend who lent me lovely serving trays and expensive knives, and of course my husband who so willingly pitched in as usual.
And thank you dear Bishop–for thanking us.