An Invitation Full of Promise - Natalie McGehee
Last week, I prepared my dining table for a dinner party on the upcoming weekend. I love a pretty table and enjoy putting together table settings that are fun and inviting. The process of thinking about what the table could look like, planning what dishes to use and pulling simple things from around the house and garden to make it interesting are a real joy for me. I always hope our guests will feel loved and cared about before even taking a bite! However, I have found that if I wait until the last minute to set the table it’s always a rush and thrown together (which is of course totally fine because what really matters is the people! Spontaneity is fun and the norm around here!) But I miss out on the pleasure of preparing and doing something that I really enjoy, so if I can find a little time in the middle of the week, I will get the table all arranged with sparkling glasses, candles ready to light and a few flowers from the garden!
With the dining room located in between the kitchen and the study, I found myself passing through the dining room all week. I couldn’t miss the table being set and waiting for the guests to arrive. Every time I passed through, I smiled thinking of the laughter, the joy, the love and the deliciousness of the evening to come. But there was something deeper too. You know that smile that reaches all the way down to your heart - a little flutter of pureness and joy. I stopped right before walking into the doorway and my breath was taken away. The Lord gave me a special moment to just stop and stare and see. Morning light fluttered through the trees outside of the windows with a crisp and gentle freshness full of promise.
As much as I enjoy setting the table for a simple dinner with friends, it made me stop and think about my heavenly Father. He is, right now, preparing a table for us. I have always thought of “heaven” being in the future with the promise of being invited to the feast, the wedding banquet. I have never really thought about that if He is preparing a place for me, then he is already getting things ready, setting things right, sending out the invitations and gathering the harvest for the feast. Does he smile with pleasure thinking about the banquet to come with his beloved children gathered around the table?
The prophet Isaiah proclaimed:
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow upon this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the LORD has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited fro him, that he might save us.
This is the LORD; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isa. 25:6-9
Don’t miss the promises of God in all of my talk about dinner parties and table settings! Maybe dinner parties sound stuffy to you, or hard to even imagine as you make another round of mac’n’cheese for the little ones. Real life is hard and gritty and downright exhausting. But, beloved, your heavenly Father is not only preparing a feast, but He is inviting you to come. He will wipe away all tears from all faces. The Lord will Himself wipe away your tears and welcome you to the table! Death and pain and evil will be swallowed up forever.
But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him” 1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV
Usually, this verse is used when talking about the things waiting for us in heaven, but verse 10 says, “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything even the depths of God.” What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has the heart imagined been revealed to those who love Him by His Spirit! He has prepared, through Jesus Christ, the wondrous life and liberty of the Gospel. David Guzak says, “ Before the life and ministry of Jesus, God’s people had a vague understanding of the glory of His work and what it would do for His people. But they really didn’t – they couldn’t – fully understand it ahead of time.” But the Holy Spirit indwelling in us can reveal and teach us about the things of God.
We are invited into the Kingdom of God. We are invited into community with Christ, the Father and the Holy Spirit. We have His promise of freedom in Christ now and also the celebration at the feast of the Lamb in the Kingdom to come.
The table is set and waiting.
Will you say yes and join Him?