Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Messianic Banquet


I do not want to leave you without a note hope after the poem I wrote in that last post.
Today we commended Bernie to God's keeping.
We did so using the wonderful passage from Isaiah which gives us a vision of that Last Great Messianic Banquet.
Here are words to hold on to.


Bernard

When I met my wife I also met this wonderful family. I remember one Thanksgiving Day early on, when I found myself in a church hall in Essex, with what seemed like hundreds of people. How could I ever learn all these names? Your family is bigger than most of the churches I’ve served.

Time after time after time in good times and in bad times we have gathered and there has always been quite a spread of tables laden with food; lots and lots of food, lots of cold beer and tonic (Boston word for soda) and for the discriminating tastes; a good single malt.
These were times of joy and times of sadness.
Baptisms, Birthdays, Marriages, and of course there have been Funerals.
Sometimes it was just the immediate family.
Other times there was the whole clan.

During the past week we have gathered around this table.
We have dealt with reality the best we knew how.
We’ve told our stories.
We have shared our feelings.

So now it falls to us to bid farewell to Bernard.

It occurred to me that perhaps the most appropriate passage from Scripture to read at a time like this is the passage from Isaiah that pictures heaven as a Banquet where all of us without exception are gathered at the mountain of God. The Biblical Scholars call this “The Messianic Banquet” since it is the Messiah who invites us to this Last Great Feast.

To respect both Bernard’s wishes and this family’s needs, I think it makes sense for us to live in the hope that there will come a time when we will gather at That Great Banquet Table.

There is this about the cross of Jesus.
And I do need to mention this with no offense intended to anyone.
There is no blame here for whatever happens.
Jesus takes all the blame upon himself.
He paid the price for all our sins and not for our only but for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
There is no blame.
There is only forgiveness.
There is only love.
There is only hope.
This is the meaning of the Cross as I understand it.
And I felt it important to say so.


Therefore I would like to share with you Reading from the Book of the Prophet of Isaiah

The Messianic Banquet

Isaiah 25:6-9
On this mountain the God of hosts will make for all peoples
   
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines,
   
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines
 strained clear. 

And he will destroy on this mountain
   
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
   
the sheet that is spread over all nations; 

God will swallow up death for ever.

And then God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
   
and the disgrace of his people he will take away
from all the earth,
   
for the God has spoken. 

It will be said on that day,
   
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for God,
so that God might save us.
   
This is the God for whom we have waited;
   
let us be glad and rejoice in this salvation.


The Lord’s Prayer
         Our Father, who art in heaven
         Hallowed be thy Name.
         Thy Kingdom Come
         Thy Will be done
         On earth as it is in heaven
         Give us this day our daily bread
         And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who
                  trespass against us
         And lead us not into temptation
         But deliver us from evil
         For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory
         For ever and ever. AMEN.

A Blessing for Bernard

Unto God’s gracious mercy and protection we commit you. May the Lord Bless you and keep you, may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you , May the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you Peace this day and forevermore. Amen.


1 comment:

Bill Hoogland said...

Thank you. 1 small note: you miss-quote the blessing from Numbers 6. There is no "May" in Numbers 6. It reads "The Lord bless you...."

"May the Lord bless you..." is what my father, the late Rev. Jacob Hoogland would call a "mamby pamby blessing" hoping the Lord might bless you.

"The Lord bless you...." is a blessing! God's people know He blesses us!