Monday, March 31, 2008

Sit With Me

As we prepared for Easter, I was humbled when I spoke to Masie Kate about the upcoming holiday. All she could talk about was the Easter Bunny and all the candy she was going to get. I felt sick about this but honestly knew that I was responsible for Masie's focus. I began praying about what God wanted for my family and how to celebrate the miracle of Jesus' resurrection. I was surprised when the first thing that came to mind was, "The Last Supper".
The Last Supper was a special time for Jesus and His disciples. Jesus knew what events lay ahead of Him. He reserved an "upper room". Just think of the size of the had to seat at least 13. He prepared a table for His dearly loved, knowing that many of them would soon be His enemy. He removed their sandals, washed and rubbed their tired feet. This wasn't a "Board Room" type meeting...Jesus didn't hand out agendas or address the "heat" coming from all the religious leaders. Jesus knew that He was going to be crucified and His disciples were going to experience the excruciating grief of losing a loved one, the painful memories of their King being stripped of every earthly dignity and the black shadow of shame. So what did Jesus do? He met their most basic needs. He set His table for the ones He loved with the expectation of outrageously and humbly serving all who entered that room.
When I know that suffering is ahead the last thing I think about is the needs of everyone else. For example with my youngest, Katelyn, I had a "scheduled" delivery. I loved knowing the day she would be born because I got to wrap up the thousands of details prior to "D" day. I knew from previous experience:) that they do not call "labor" labor for nothing. Pain was coming. So the day before, I completely and totally pampered myself. I had a pedicure...which was paid for by a total stranger. She either felt sorry for the condition of my huge ankles or she shared in my expectation for the uncertainties the next day held. I had my house cleaned by someone other than myself. My father chauffeured me around to make returns and exchanges. My mother tolerated my moodiness. My parents took me to lunch, dinner, and dinner again (hey I couldn't eat after midnight!). My husband being the brilliant man that he is stayed home and planted our fall garden. I think he was preparing for the worst...waiting on me hand and foot. The day was about me, for tomorrow held the birth of a new chapter of service, love and devotion.
When I thought about Jesus and His servanthood to His little family I was overwhelmed. I knew that I was to try and model His example. So I prepared to feed, serve and go over the top in any area I was capable of with Masie Kate at my side. I went to and gathered recipes that I could manage for our Easter brunch. I made a Tangerine Glazed Ham. Masie squeezed 8 tangerines to make the 2 cups of juice it called for (my floor is still sticky). We made lemon poppy seed muffins from scratch - next time I will open a box. However, this year I wanted our hands to do the work. Besides, if nothing I served was homemade then the prayers would have been limited because all my guests knew that I am not the most experienced cook and sometimes it's a prayer that will allow you to stomach what I've prepared. We served Paula Deen's recipe for, Pecan Praline French Toast Casserole. I have never had more cream and butter in my fridge for one occasion. We ate so good. Ryan picks on me and swears that ham was the best brisket he has ever had:)
Masie and I collected the best dishes we could put our hands on. We laid our lace table cloth and set out new robins egg blue place mats. She is all about finishing touches - we made place cards, we printed the menu and we hunted Easter morning for Mountain Laurels that were freshly bloomed. When you entered our house Easter morning all of your senses were awakened...the table was beautiful, the combination of citrus from the ham and cinnamon from the french toast told your mouth that something delicious was coming, there was the sound of laughter and conversation (joy), and the holding of hands as we gathered to bless the food overwhelmed me personally.
The whole week leading up to this Easter Sunday I got to speak to Masie about the last supper, Jesus death (we went to the Good Friday service at church) and His resurrection. Our conversations happened naturally as we made preparations for our guests. She loved it and loved that she was at my side. I remember her response when I gave her the job of zesting lemons for the muffins. She hugged me and told me I was the best mom ever. The whole experience blessed me. I loved that my little hostess greeted the guests, served drinks and worked hard at being gentle to her pesky sister.
God had my attention. Masie and I prepared our table because we had the expectation that the seats would be sat in, the glasses filled and the forks used. We didn't prepare the table just to be looked at but to be sat at. We knew the most important part of the Brunch was not the food or the table but it was our guests. With every detail complete I heard the whisper of God telling me, "I've a place for you at My table. Come sit with Me, let Me feed and comfort you. Come sit at My table and rest awhile...for I know what tomorrow holds so sit with Me today. "
Easter really was a celebration this year in our home. We celebrated who Jesus is. He is our servant, our provider, our comforter, our perfect portion of love and grace. Jesus cares for the needs of His people. Easter will be here again next year but tonight I will prepare my table for my family and remember that I am modeling the care that Jesus gave His disciples. I imagine out of all the miracles and time spent with Jesus that the most remembered and cherished time was when Jesus took care of them. There were many important people in Jesus' life and important places for Jesus to go...but on His last night He showed there were none more important than those around His table.
God has a place for you at His table.

The ministry of your everyday

requires time to sit and pray.

Come to His table and sit a while.

I can't imagine the size of your Host's smile.

You have an important job to do

So let the Host prepare a meal for you.

You will be nourished, your body given strength

Your soul will not be thirsty

Sit a while and drink.

Sit with me says the Host

I am Your Father and I love You the most.

Stay at my table as long as you like

The ministry of your life is not an easy hike.

Eat until you are full, tell me about your day

For I know the plans I have for you

Just sit with me along the way.