Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
The festival is upon us and the feast is prepared; you are the guest of honor! The host ushers you to the front where you are seated next to many others. Your qualifications for being there, a mere invitation from the master of the feast. Since you have a little time before things officially get started, you take a moment to soak in your surroundings. The location is lavish in decor, but not overdone. The sights, sounds, and even smells are somewhat foreign; certainly not mundane.
At last all your fellow invitees are seated and things come to order. On to the feast. Each of the many courses comes replete with a story! Having checked all invitations, the host opens with some introductory words that stir something deep within each diner. Designed to further whet your appetite and bring you more fully into the meal, a most delicate and delicious serving is given out. The single bite bursts with flavor, leaving you longing for what’s next. Thankfully what comes next is a hearty soup, the broth overflows with flavor; the meat and vegetables have a subtle hint of seasoning. Your host calls for music and you feel yourself relax into your seat as the keyboardist plays gently.
Barely finishing the last bit of soup, your salad is delivered right on schedule. With the salad are more words from the host who discusses the history of the matter and points out how the same applies today. Uplifting and helpful are these words as a small, slightly citrusy dollop of sorbet is presented. Just what you needed as you reflect over the meal so far and the importance of the words you’ve heard.
Having poured your drinks, the main course is brought out. Thick, juicy, and cooked perfectly. Paired with crisp vegetables and mash generous with herbs and pepper, the meal couldn’t be better. You savor more than just the food, but the experience. From the knife carving the entree to the smell of it just before taking a bite to the thrilling sensation of tasting it. The graciousness of your host is demonstrated beyond the perfect meal in his encouraging words that make you like family!
More music and dessert! This time the music drives you to tap your foot. You know the tune! Between bites of dessert and sips of coffee, you and the rest of the guests find yourselves singing along! Joining in completely with the entire event! Loving the company and the constant presence of your host, you don’t want the evening to end. But, alas, it must. More gracious words of “thank you” and “come again” and a sincere blessing upon all who shared this intimate experience.
That is the Divine Service! A multi-course meal meted out by Jesus Himself. Each course, each facet leading us forward. Blessings and benedictions, Scriptures and sermons, Baptisms and Eucharists, the meal set before us is extravagant and holy. Then the Host invites you back again to join Him next week!
Dear Jesus, thank you for hosting me each week in the Divine Service at my church. Send out your invitation far and wide that more would come to know you and enjoy your most holy meal. Amen.