The Feast You Spread Before Us

assorted color opened umbrella hangs on display

Photo by Enrique Hoyos on Pexels.com

With permission, I am sharing this beautiful piece, “The Feast You Spread Before Us.”  It struck me that, even now, when things (answers, masks, paper products…) seem scarce, we are called to be a people of extravagant grace.  We are called to be a a people who envision and share a feast — in and amidst — the seeming scarcity all around us.  It is, in fact, the practice of extravagant grace which might be the thing that binds us together through it all.  

The author is the Rev. Dr. Mark Richardson who serves as the Senior Minister of First United Methodist Church, Santa Barbara. The Rev. Richardson was my district mentor in my call to ministry process, and simply is … an overall wonderful human being.  🙂  I hope you will enjoy this piece as much as I have.

The Feast You Spread Before Us

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
~ Psalm 23:5 

This is the feast you spread before us, O God,
a sumptuous celebration of freedom in Christ,
sitting down at table not only with those we love,
and with all those who love us in return,
but with the very ones who trouble us.

This is the feast of Eucharist –
profound gratefulness for earth, bread, and breath,
as we dance with joy before the mystery of God,
the One who speaks hope into our troubled hearts,
the One who alone is able to soothe our weary souls.

This is the feast of holy love –
first tasted in a Gethsemane garden
then poured out on Calvary’s hill,
an inexhaustible love that knows no fear
and is undeterred by hate or malice.

This is the feast of surrender –
releasing the anxieties that plague us,
the resentments we nurse over time,
giving us hearts of gladness instead,
hallowing our lives in the sweetness of grace.

This is the gospel feast –
overflowing the small containers of our lives,
bathing us in the font of baptismal blessing,
anointing us with Holy Spirit wind and fire,
bidding us to live forgiven, loved and free.

This is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet –
where lion and lamb lie down together in peace,
where foes watch their bitterness melt away,
where there is neither weeping nor pain nor fear,
rather the sounds of love’s creation praising their God.

~ Mark Lloyd Richardson

Visit the Rev. Richardson’s blog for more:  https://dreamprayact.com

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