5 Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.
7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 8 They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. 9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
10 O continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your salvation to the upright of heart!
They feast on the abundance of your house. There is something special about gathering at the table for a feast. So often (we will see it quite often this year in the Gospel of Luke), Jesus gathers with people at the table for a meal. And many times it is with those who are considered outsiders, often unwelcomed to the table. Table fellowship with Jesus shows that one is welcomed, equal, on the inside instead of the outside.
We gather around the table each week and the Host welcomes us. God’s table! And we look forward to the feast to come, when we will gather around the table with ALL the saints.
You may have heard this story before:
Long ago there lived an old woman who had a wish. She wished more than anything to see for herself the difference between heaven and hell. The monks in the temple agreed to grant her request. They put a blindfold around her eyes, and said, "First you shall see hell."
When the blindfold was removed, the old woman was standing at the entrance to a great dining hall. The hall was full of round tables, each piled high with the most delicious foods — meats, vegetables, fruits, breads, and desserts of all kinds! The smells that reached her nose were wonderful.
The old woman noticed that, in hell, there were people seated around those round tables. She saw that their bodies were thin, and their faces were gaunt, and creased with frustration. Each person held a spoon. The spoons must have been three feet long! They were so long that the people in hell could reach the food on those platters, but they could not get the food back to their mouths. As the old woman watched, she heard their hungry desperate cries. "I've seen enough," she cried. "Please let me see heaven."
And so again the blindfold was put around her eyes, and the old woman heard, "Now you shall see heaven." When the blindfold was removed, the old woman was confused. For there she stood again, at the entrance to a great dining hall, filled with round tables piled high with the same lavish feast. And again, she saw that there were people sitting just out of arm's reach of the food with those three-foot long spoons.
But as the old woman looked closer, she noticed that the people in heaven were plump and had rosy, happy faces. As she watched, a joyous sound of laughter filled the air.
And soon the old woman was laughing too, for now she understood the difference between heaven and hell for herself. The people in heaven were using those long spoons to feed each other.
We pray every Sunday for God’s kingdom to come to earth as it is in heaven.
In response to all that God has given us, may we feed the neighbor, and rejoice.
Let us pray: Thank you for the bounty of your creation. As stewards of all that you have made, may we share with all so that all may be fed. We pray this in Jesus name, Amen.