Thursday, October 25, 2012
Delicious Choices Set Before Us
By Rick Marschall
Special to ASSIST News Service
SWARTZ CREEK MI (ANS) -- “Have a seat!” “Help yourself!” “What would you like to drink?” “Feel free to have a second helping!” Every society through history has constructed grand halls for meetings, and decorated lavish living rooms for entertaining, but common to every culture -– indeed to every family -– is the dining table, even the kitchen table, for conviviality. It is where we bond, relate, and confirm friendships. Shared meals have always been the signs of sincere respect between host and guest. It is said that sleepers never lie, and perhaps that is so. But it would seem as likely that hearty hosts and welcome guests, over a prepared meal, cannot stay suspicious or hostile for long. “Ess, ess, mein kind!” “Mangia!” “Bon appétit!” “Guten apetit!” “Buono apetito!” -– all the world’s invitations to the table are first marinated in friendship.
If these practice,s and customs, are parts of humanity’s DNA, then it is no surprise that we find the recipe, so to speak, in God Holy Word. Many essential points of doctrine, teaching, and examples are related to food, to dining, to hospitality, to eating, to sharing.
When we think of the imagery of a feast prepared for us in Heaven, we can recall these examples and others, ranging from the celebratory feast prepared for the prodigal son, to the signification of the Host -– “Take, eat; this My body, given for you.” But we would starve ourselves, so to speak, if we do not fully appreciate the table prepared for us over yonder, in Heaven.
God does not have a simple table setting, or a mere meal, waiting for us. It will indeed be a banquet table. A buffet table is how I see it. To visit various cultures again, think of a smorgasbord, a tapas menu, a dim sum experience, a churrascaria offering. Unimaginable varieties of surprises and blessings.
In fact, we would even more starve ourselves, spiritually speaking, if we restrict the visions of a blessed banquet table to Heaven, where indeed it awaits us. But we should remember that Jesus is the Bread of Life. We have communion now. The Lord does not just promise a spiritual feast sometime later: He IS a spiritual feast. Christians can behold the buffet -– there is salvation, here is healing, there is forgiveness, here is comfort, there is wisdom. All prepared for us, sweet to our taste, nourishing to our souls.
Have a seat! Help yourself!
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A video clip of a moving performance of the classic Ira Stanphill gospel song associated with Gov. Jimmie Davis and many other singers, “Suppertime.” Here it is sung by the beloved Southern Gospel singer George Younce, surrounded by friends. George was undergoing dialysis at the time, and this was his last public performance.
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This story is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of the ASSIST News Service or ASSIST Ministries.