“I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.”~~Erma Bombeck
Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is festoon. The noun version means, “a string or chain of flowers, foliage, ribbon, etc., suspended in a curve between two points.” The verb version means, “to adorn with or as with festoons.” So I supposed you can festoon your festoons.
Today is Festivus. Festivus was actually invented in 1966, but did not become widely known until the son of the inventor used the holiday in a joke in an episode of Seinfeld. The day is celebrated with plain aluminum pole, and common, everyday occurrences are labeled as “Festivus miracles.” There is also something about airing of grievances.
Last night, I helped Christi cut the Kahlua fudge. Let me tell you, cutting fudge is hard work. That stuff gets hard in the fridge! But I got it all done. While I was cutting fudge, she was mangling candy canes for some peppermint bark. It was supposed to be a layered dark and white chocolate peppermint bark, but after it set, the layers wouldn’t stick together. It is still delicious, though! And the fudge is the best fudge I have ever tasted! Don’t worry. I left plenty for Christmas.
It’s Christmas Eve Eve. We have all our shopping done. However, it’s not all delivered yet. I’m waiting on two or three more packages, scheduled to arrive today or tomorrow. Cutting it close, huh? Last minute ideas, you know, and thank goodness for Amazon Prime!
(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)
The final section of this book is called “The Great Feast.” After giving us a metaphor about prayer that is based on sailing, Timothy Keller turns to a more Biblical idea. The Bible frequently uses the metaphor of the feast to describe fellowship with God. Consider Isaiah 25:6-8.
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 up on 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.
The “covering” and “veil” that is spoken of in verse 7 is like the shroud that is placed over a dead body. When our time is over, we will not only receive God’s forgiveness, but all of the things associated with the shroud of death will be removed from us. There will be no more suffering, death, or tears. And we have this vision of a feast, which is one of the most common metaphors for friendship and fellowship. In Scripture, sharing meals together is almost sacred. In these verses, we have “a powerful prediction of unimaginably close and intimate fellowship with the living God.”
At the end of time, there will be a great wedding feast as Jesus is united with His Bride. “Jesus’ death on the cross will be the basis for that final festal joy that we will have with him forever.”
However, we must not think that this fellowship is entirely in the future. Psalm 34:8 invites us now to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” And 2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” This is happening to us now, not in the future.
One of the great eighteenth-century hymn writers, William Cowper, suffered from tremendous bouts of depression. But during one of those, he wrote these words:
Sometimes a light surprises the Christian as he sings;
it is the Lord who rises, with healing in his wings.
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.
In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.
While it may not be consistent, fellowship with God is available to us now. George Herbert referred to prayer as “the church’s banquet.” Dwight Moody says that, as he was praying one day, “that God revealed himself to me, and I had such an experience of his love that I had to ask him to stay his hand.”
Let us not settle for water when we can have wine. As the famous C.S. Lewis quote says, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
“We are far too easily pleased.” Let that not be true of us.
For those who are still reading, thank you for remaining on this journey through Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, by Timothy Keller. As I have said, I believe it to be the best book on prayer I have read.
Father, take us on a journey of awe and intimacy with you. Let us learn to pray. Let us not be too easily pleased, and be satisfied with making mud pies. My heart’s desire is to know you more fully. In the coming year, may my prayer life be dramatically increased.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.