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I have a theory that life revolves around dinner. For example, every morning, right after breakfast and before I've even eaten lunch, I'll ask my husband, "What do you want for dinner?"
Recently, we wanted to get together with some friends - so we went out to dinner. And while we ate dinner we talked about other dinners we've eaten and restaurants we haven't yet tried but plan on going to - for dinner.
See what I mean?
Last week I was listening to Steve Brown, one of my favorite Bible teachers. (Listen to him online at www.keylife.org) Even he talked about dinner! He's been teaching through the New Testament book of Revelation and he had gotten near the end. It's a scary book, filled with unimaginable horror and terror. But near the end it talks about dinner.
Jesus is going to host a huge feast for all his friends, and I plan on being there.
The Bible doesn't say what's on the menu. Once, when I first heard about this future dinner, I told someone I thought we would eat leg of lamb and she laughed at me, in a sort of horrified, "I can't believe you said that" way.
I only meant that when we used to go to Aunt Gladys' house for dinner we often had leg of lamb with mint jelly and mashed potatoes with real gravy, and lemon sorbet between courses "to cleanse the palate."
Aunt Gladys always served something odd, too, like lemon Jell-O made with tomato juice and diced celery, and she always put parsley on the plates as a garnish. So to me, leg of lamb is a particularly festive and elegant meal and it seemed a fitting entre for the dinner we'll have with Jesus some day.
My horrified friend clued me in that the dinner is called the "marriage supper of the Lamb," as in Jesus, the Lamb of God, and she thought I was making a cannibal joke.
Back to Steve's teaching from Revelation. The day I listened was the same day we had dinner with our friends, so the message was well-timed.
Steve said that at the dinner with Jesus we'll all sit around the table and tell war stories. Some of us will have stories of terrible persecution and suffering. We'll all have stories of great, undeserved blessings and stories of surprising mercy and grace. We'll talk about the constancy of God's faithfulness and the wonders of his kindness when we least deserved it.
I think Jesus will just sit back and smile and get a kick out of all of us talking so fondly about his dad.
Steve said that when Jesus was on earth he thought about dinner, too. He thought about the marriage supper, thousands of years away - it's going to be that good. Maybe as good as one of Aunt Gladys' dinners.
At the last Passover meal that Jesus ate with his friends the night before he died, he gave them bread and wine and said he would not be sharing a Passover meal with them again until they were all together in his Father's kingdom.
"He thinks about heaven and he thinks about home and he thinks about the marriage supper of the Lamb," Steve said.
Then Steve talked about another preacher who loved dinner at his grandmother's house. After the fried chicken and the biscuits and the butter beans and corn on the cob, after the sliced tomatoes fresh from the garden, after the olives and the pickles and the frosty glasses of sweet iced tea were all consumed, as Grandma would start clearing the dishes from the table she'd say, "Keep your fork."
That meant something good was on the way - like coconut cake!
"When I heard those words, every fat cell in my entire body stood at attention and sang the 'Hallelujah Chorus,'" the preacher said.
Steve ended his broadcast by saying that the world is dark and things are hard and sometimes it seems like we're not going to make it.
"But in the midst of the really bad stuff, don't forget about dinner, the dinner," he said. "So, if you're going through a hard time right now, keep your fork - something good is on the way."