Have I ever mentioned that I'm married to a rather large human being? A legal giant? Hmmm, didn't think so. Well, I am. And this extra large, extra tall man, and his extra, extra large, extra tall siblings have always been able to eat. I'm talking Eat with a captial E. They learned it at their father's knee. Back when Grampie was a growing boy, growing up faster than everyone he'd ever known, he used to go to Country Buffet Restaurants with his buddies. Or The King's Table. Or whatever they were called. There was one somewhere in Bremerton when Grampie was a teenager, and Grampie ate there all the time. All he could eat for 3.99 or something like that. Maybe less. It was, after all, just after the Depression, and prices were cheaper then.
Grampie learned a few things from the Depression--and he reminds us of them all the time. The most important was to be a 'clean-plater.' See, back in the depression, all his family had sometimes was potatoes. We should be grateful we have food, he'll tell us. Finish what we take! Seriously, he chided Thyrza about her plate just today. But Grampie never left food on his plate. In fact, after he'd filled his plate to heaping about seven times once at the Country Buffet in Bremerton, the manager came over to his table and asked Grampie to stop eating!
That's the kind of family I married into. We've been to many, many buffets over the years. Chinese buffets, country ones, Sunday brunches, seafood smorgasbords, taco bars...well, you name it, we've tried it over the years. And Beve, I have to say, can still eat like he was Grampie at 16. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating, but just barely. This morning, after church, we took Grampie and Thyrza and Thyrza's son, who'd flown in from Albuquerque, out to Chuckanut Manor, where we ate one of the best Sunday brunches it's been our privilege to eat. Yes, privilege. E and I started drooling before Grampie and Thyrza had even gotten in the door. I can't begin to tell you everything on those tables, but let me just hit the high-points. The three of us agreed the the oysters were to die for (if you like oysters, otherwise you're on your own). The blinzes, also spectacular. Omelets made in front of you, prime rib, salmon, and the desserts...oh, darn, I'm drooling again.
Beve, my beloved, my still-in-great-shape Beve, piled two plates so high they were like four of anyone else's. I should have taken a photo, I really should have. When one of those giants gets to a buffet, it's a sight worth seeing.
The lushness of that banquet this morning, the variety of the food, the grandeur of the location (right on the edge of Puget Sound), the graciousness of the staff (it was so sweet watching our waitress trying to help the older manager take the pictures Grampie had demanded of him), all made me think of the great banqueting table we're invited to in the Kingdom. Here we are, measly little us, still in our grimey, sinny selves, and we're invited in. And what's spread out before us, what's on the table is so delectable, so filling, a gastronomical delight. But also--this is His Kingdom I'm talking about--far more than simply food for our bodies. The sustenance, as glorious as what we tasted on our tongues this morning, lasts. It is made of eternal substance, our banquet, of heaven-given food--the real angel's food!--and lasts. Belly up to that table, people. Take up your fork, your soup spoons, and dig in. He's right at the head of the table, waiting.
I can hardly wait. How about you? When He invites you, will you answer?
"The Kingdom o heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son...
For many are invited, but few are chosen." Matthew 22: 1, 14