Or, to be more grammatically correct, “with whom I would like to have lunch.” So, now that’s out of the way, here’s the list and why:
The Dalai Lama. I’ve always found him to be such a jolly fellow. Always smiling. Very caring and gentle. I’d probably mention my long-ensuing fascination with the Himalayas and the Buddha’s teachings. I’d mention I’ve seen Seven Years in Tibet several times. I’d ask him to read my post from early 2015 titled “The Pursuit of Happiness,” about the life of Peyangky, a nine-year-old Buddhist monk in Bhutan. I’d like to discuss with him the Bodhisattva’s teachings, and ask how can there be so many similarities with the morals and ethics presented in Bible and yet the purported spiritual outcomes are so different. I’d also ask what good is the cycle of reincarnation if you never know you’re reincarnated? And yes, I’d have to eventually mention that I’d been a fan of the Seattle grunge band Nirvana, and ask if was that wrong.
John Lennon. Man, where do you start? How ‘bout, “We miss you terribly. You left too soon. But you left us with so much — to sing, to think about, to remember that ‘All you need is love, love.’ I really like those glasses. Yoko, not so much.” I’d let him know that I’ve seen Help countless times and it’s still fab.
William Shakespeare. My collection of The Complete Works, I’ll never get through. There may be a comment made hinting about his authorship being in question, now a legitimate field of scholarly inquiry. I’ll mention that I saw Richard Burton portray his best Hamlet at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway. I’d ask if he liked being known in literary history simply as “The Bard,” and if those frilly, starchy Elizabethan collars were terribly uncomfortable.
Abraham Lincoln. I’m not sure if I could actually eat in the presence of this giant figure of Americana. Maybe we would both weep most of the time, for the nation, then and now, and about the bloody Civil War battlefields, where so many gave up their lives for causes so opposed. Barefoot boys shooting at each other with rifles that just weeks before were used to shoot squirrels, holding the line alongside decorated academy trained men smartly uniformed in blue or gray. I’d tell him I actually did weep when I visited his Memorial, overcome with a sense of the awesome weight of his presidential burden, that carved solemn face forever musing his beloved country’s heritage and destiny. Wonder what he’d think if I shamefully confessed that moral principles and incorruptible integrity were apparently no longer valued by our government today? Then I would honor him by reading a stanza penned in 1865 by Walt Whitman lamenting his passing: “O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills; For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding; For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning.”
And lastly, Kim Jong Un. Never really cared for Korean food, so on my side of the table it will be a water and appetizer event. Maybe I’d at least order a side of Mandu, the Korean version of a pot sticker. But since I’m German, I’d be more comfortable just calling them dumplings. First question: “With all due respect, sir. Are you nuts, or just a self-styled Asian Napoleonic megalomaniac?” But wait. There’s really no difference. (Pausing for translation and response, if any.) Next question: “So unlike the millions of devoted followers who literally worship you as The Supreme Leader, you seem to be eating pretty well. Must be all that Chinese take-out you order.” The interview might be headed South from here (pun intended) and besides, I find the man’s presence in the civilized world so creepy, I’d probably have to excuse myself and head for the shower just to try to feel clean again. — Actually at this point I’m hoping to get this posted before Big Kim pushes the blinking red button launching a nuke-loaded ICBM aimed at my backyard.
If you know me at all, you’re probably saying, “What? No Jesus Christ on the short list?” Interestingly, it is He who makes the divine offer to dine together. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Rev. 3:20) This is both a metaphor describing God’s desire for personal relationships, and a prophetic promise for those who choose to realize that relationship by sharing an actual meal with Him at table. Barry Jones, writing for the Dallas Theological Seminary’s blog, says “I’m becoming increasingly convinced that food is one of God’s love languages. It’s worth noting that at the center of the spiritual lives of God’s people in both the Old and New Testaments, we find a table: the table of Passover and the table of Communion.”
Dining together in ancient times and even in our current day culture conveys the idea of intimate fellowship (Luke 19:5-7; John 13:1-5; Matt. 9:10). Jesus, looking ahead in anticipation of that kind of fellowship with his followers, promised not to partake of the Passover meal again until He dines with them in the Millennial Kingdom (Isaiah 25:6; Mat. 8:11; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18).
So in this case, my “lunch” will not be a fictional fantasy. Jesus has already booked the reservation. The menu will certainly include fruit from the tree of life and fountains of living water, but most importantly, the breaking of bread in the pleasure of the company of the One who is the Bread of Life. (John 6:35)