A couple months ago, I was reading Tom Schreiner’s “King In His Beauty” (the chapter on Exodus). Schreiner explains that after crossing the Red Sea on their way out of Egypt, God’s people celebrate His faithfulness and mighty saving power through story, song and festival. I was caught up in the imagery and found myself dreaming of what that might look like, back then and now. I pictured the dancing, the laughing, the storytelling, the recounting of the miracles, the pontificating over broken bread and full cups of wine as to what the future might hold with Yahweh on their side. I got lost in the stories the Israelites might have been telling and the gleam in their eyes as they told them.
I want to do this. … No, I have to do this. God did the same thing for me. He intervened into the chaos and oppression of sin that defined my life. He led me by day and by night out of slavery and into His promises of rest and salvation. And He did that for me right around a year ago. This Thanksgiving season for me marks the time when I saw the Lord being so active in my life for the first time. (Not the first time He acted, but the first time I saw it.) It’s a season to celebrate His goodness, and the abundance thereof.
Last night, I gathered with three wonderful friends … one whom I’ve known for decades, one whom is my home group leader and neighbor, and one whom I have watched the Lord do such mighty work in that her face literally reflects His glory. They all hold special places in my heart, and active places in my life. We each brought sides dishes or entrees or desserts according to how our mama's taught us to cook them. Flames flickered from candles in the center of the table,. Soft, hauntingly beautiful music telling of God’s great love for us filled our ears, being highlighted by what was in front of us. Our plates were full of tastes and flavors that the Lord provided to us through what grows on this earth. Our glasses were filled with wine and water and juice. Our hearts were exploding with gratitude toward the Lord, contagious and consuming. We shared our testimonies, told of how He saved us and how He continues to save us… and it all looked so much like the vision in my head of those Israelites from months and millennia earlier.
The meek, soul-stilling words of Psalm 23 hovered around the evening, giving names and definition to the illustration in front of us. "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. .... You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows."