And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. - Revelation 21:3
At our house, today is the big day. Everyone descends on Maul-Hall for Friday afternoon dinner and it's a wall-to-wall people, controlled chaos, food-a-palooza, gratitude-on-steroids, love-fest kind of a day.
The whole Friday thing first happened years ago, when Rebekah's brother Jesse served a church that did this huge Thanksgiving event. So we shifted the family dinner back a day. Later, Thursday opened up again, but Friday has become our tradition. We like it this way so here we are.
Three of the nieces came in Tuesday so they could help. They polish silver, iron napkins, make biscuits, set the long banquet table, help Rebekah with the shopping - that sort of thing. Plus this time they got taken to lunch, treated to a movie and indulged with Starbucks by their cousin Andrew. Tough gig.
BANQUET: For me it's all about the banquet table. Don't ask me why but it just gets to me every time. We set up two long cafeteria tables end to end in the back porch, so we can seat 20+ all together. That's the official number, but usually by the time we're all seated and I count a few extra have sneaked in.
That's when I just stand there and look and smile. Sometimes I'm so nourished by the scene that I forget to fill my own plate. I just hope I remember to grab my camera. It's THE GREAT BANQUET. I remember a chorus we used to sing when I was a teenager at Folkestone Baptist Church in England. "He welcomes me to His banqueting table and his banner over me is love..."
Great, now I've done it. I'm going to think about that idea this afternoon when I look out over the table and offer the blessing and I'm probably going to cry.
A BANNER is flown over a nation, a people, an organization or an army, to state clearly and definitively who they are. The banner God unfurls over this family and friends, around the MaulHall banqueting table, is the banner of love.
Derek, Rebekah, Andrew, Naomi, Craig, David Henry, David (my dad), Grace, Geoff, Jesse, Heather, Jordan, Seth, Jared, Sarah, Joe, Cheryl, Lindsay, Myrt, Lynn, Randy. Then we're slated to have some extras for dessert - Lacey, Matt, Laura....
Unfurl the banner of love. Fly it high, so there's not the slightest doubt that love is the definitive characteristic of this family gathering and that God is the source of the love and the power that sustains it.
MESSAGE: There's something else a banner accomplishes; it tells the rest of the world who we are and what they can expect from us. I am confident that anyone who breaks bread with this family will leave with a clear understanding that we are all about the Jesus kind of love.
On purpose or not, we all unfurl our banners. We do it whenever we have a family gathering. We bring out our banner when we get together as a church and we do it when we gather around the Thanksgiving table. And the banner - usually - is all too easy to read.
I can't help but wonder if you've given much thought to what yours might say...?