Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Once Upon A Banquet Table

It was an eclectic gathering of textures and golden light. Patches of greenery, wood, and elements of gold and silver were softened with tumblers of fresh cut baby’s breath. Spanning across the eighty-foot balcony, overlooking the lake, rows of tables and straight lines of white chairs invite guests to come and sit.

The planning. All of it.

The guest list. Family, friends, and the influential people in the lives of the bride and groom.

The food. So much food.

The forecast hung like the billowy blustering clouds rowing across the sky. Freezing temperatures along with rain mixed with snow arrived and stayed for days just as predicted. On the evening of rehearsal –rehearsal for a beach wedding– rain fell heavy pushing everyone into small spaces.

Sometimes there is just no turning back, even if you don't know how to go forward.

All along there was never a plan B. That's how our youngest daughter lives.

And even if I have no control what-so-ever--- I want everyone to be comfortable and feel like we sat a place at the table just for them. Not to impress, but to serve and to bless.

I was raised in a home of feasting.

A home where everyone who entered was welcome. We had a farm-sized table that was filled with platters of food, pitchers of fresh brewed tea and always, always, some sort of dessert.

I was taught –– or at least it was caught –– that the common thread of hospitality and blessing others is making people feel like you've saved a place just for them. Even if someone dropped in, we acted like we'd been waiting, with their favorite meal or a secret family recipe.

In the middle of that spring flashback of a winter gale, with all the tables set, we were left to pray. We prayed that dawn would break, the wind would die down and the sun would burn off the damp chill.

There is no explanation except God.

He answered our prayers.

A few hours before the wedding march was set to play, the wind became only a playful breeze, the sun warmed the sand and made light dance on faces. It was wonderful and sweet and romantic.

It felt like the Lord blessed the gathering and their lives now stretched out before them like a great banquet.

I don't see how we could have ever doubted Him. After all, He is God and He knows about how to set a table and throw a banquet.

In the Psalms, David wrote about the banquet God prepared for him. Those verses contain some of the most beautiful imagery and comforting truth.

In the book of Luke, Jesus was invited to a wedding. His first recorded miracle took place there. The turning water into wine. It is one of my favorite stories. A blog post needs to be written about just that.

And this week I was reading the narrative that could be named, "Once Upon A Banquet Table."

Jesus was invited to feast at a prominent man's house.

It was a gathering of whos-who. The significant. The outwardly amazing. The powerhouses. If there were things like Instagram and Facebook at that time, the newsfeeds would have been flooded with snapshots of them lifting their goblets and posed pictures with the host.

But Jesus. He wasn't afraid to mess with their status-quo thinking.

Instead of joining in with their self-promoting ways, Jesus took this banquet opportunity to teach some truth.

Truth, that I'm guilty of missing too.

Truth, of how we live on this earth today will impact how we will live in eternity.

He tells the man who invited him to the dinner: “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”  

That was upside-down thinking then. It's upside-down thinking now. 

There is another banquet yet to come.

It's a banquet we don't want to miss.

We will be on the guest list in heaven if we believe on earth the testimony of Jesus.


They are vivid pictures of Jesus and His church.

Banquet tables.

A living representation of communion, of fellowship, and of being invited.

The feasting and the joyful gathering of many. A place prepared for you.

All are invited but not everyone will accept the invitation.

Here on earth, we get a glimpse of this glory. There is something holy and incredibly beautiful about a person, about the people, who make everyone feel like there is room at their table. They look like Jesus.

And someday.... the scene will change.

Dawn will break and the Son will reveal the Great Banquet.

The banquet He has prepared for those who love Him.


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© Rhonda Quaney