Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Banqueting Table

Isaiah 55:1-5 “Hey there! All who are thirsty,
    come to the water!
Are you penniless?
    Come anyway—buy and eat!
Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk.
    Buy without money—everything’s free!
Why do you spend your money on junk food,
    your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?
Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best,
    fill yourself with only the finest.
Pay attention, come close now,
    listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.
I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you,
    the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love."

 (from The Message)

A few weeks ago, I was invited to a feast.
I knew it would be a great feast, because I've been to the house of this beloved friend before,
and that's how she rolls.
And yet, I was bowled over.
By the freshness of the flowers,
the gleam of the silver,
the glow of the candles,
the beauty of my friends around the table,
and the richness of the food.

Oh, the food.
For one thing, there was enough of it.
More than enough.
Plenty of everything and to spare.
Since I am always hungry (yes, still nursing, in case you're wondering),
I purely enjoy seeing a plate piled with delicious fare.
I won't describe the entire menu, but imagine perfectly cooked skinless Norwegian salmon,
topped with a buttery, olive-y spread. Yes. Seconds, please.
Then a filet mignon, thick and juicy, drizzled with a butter-wine-shallot sauce (I think that's how it was described, I was pretty busy with eating at that point).
And a roasted sweet-potato side dish that I will definitely be making soon.

And when the meal was over,
the feast was not,
because it was time for presents.

We had been instructed not to bring gifts,
but this was a birthday party,
so of course we all disobeyed orders.

As the birthday girl opened each package,
and listened to the blessing that accompanied it,
she responded with a blessing in kind.

You know, sometimes words are the best gift of all.
"I saw you, and I knew I wanted you for a friend."
"You are beautiful to me."
"Your journey has given me hope."
"You did something for me that no one else has ever done."

"I love you."

Now that I think of it,
the entire evening was one delicious, comforting, embracing "I love you."

"He has brought me to his banquet hall,
and his banner over me is love."
Song of Songs 2:4 

 (Sweet-potato dish: the recipe my friend used was from The Pioneer Woman. I found a similar one here)

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