Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Thou preparest a table before me 
in the presence of mine enemies...
Psalm 23:5 (KJV)

I have thought of this verse often throughout the years, especially seasons of drought in my checkbook... health... energy... and bleakness of soul.  When Serendipity has surprised me with a banquet.

This favorite of verses (among a much loved Psalm) came to my mind again as we were on the way to Sunday Brunch with my son-in-law's parents.  Baby Anna Evangeline had been dedicated at church that morning with both sets of grandparents in the service.  I found out later that it was tradition for her other grandparents to take the family out for Sunday Brunch afterwards... this time it was "just the grandparents" as they treated us to brunch and conversation.

My husband and I sat in the backseat of their car as we drove through Connecticut woods (for there are woods amongst all the towns there), foliage now muted but beautiful, to a lovely restaurant with equally delicious food... how could I not think of this verse.... amidst the laughter and fellowship of those bound by our children and grandchildren (although they would also be friends by choice). :)

This verse was particularly coming to my mind during this meal as I remembered an equally delicious "banquet in the midst of drought"... our children's wedding weekend of celebration meals.  It was during one of the most difficult seasons of my own life as my health was failing but the illness not yet diagnosed and we had come to the realization we had to sell our beautiful home after my husband's prolonged unemployment.  Had it really been ten years already?

He doesn't promise us continued peace and prosperity.  Neither do we will always receive healing.  Tithing does not prevent unexpected layoffs and eating all our veggies does not prevent disease.  Bad things happen to good people and just as David did thousands of years before... we wonder why the wicked prosper.

But in the midst of difficult times... He provides a banquet.

I love a beautifully set table and that is what we experienced at this restaurant with fine china, flowers around us, a nice atmosphere, and food prepared with care by one who had to be experienced in the art of brunch.  A creatively set table draws us into a universe all its' own... where one puts together a miniature world made lovely by fine porcelain or chunky stoneware and roses or wildflowers and linen or well polished wood.

But sometimes His banquet... the Table He presents in the presence of our enemies... is simply the Beauty that comes with a change of seasons and the eyesight to appreciate the splendor.  For some it is found in the unexpected sounds of Vivaldi being played at a summer concert or the finding of "just what I've been wanting" for a few dollars and cents at a garage sale.

I have felt His preparation of a Table when a letter arrives in the mail or the UPS man knocks on the door with an unexpected gift sent by one who is thinking of me.  For it is in the knowledge and the feeling and the awareness that He is there and He is pouring out His love in some form... acknowledging life is not easy nor (in this world) does it appear fair at times... but giving a bit of Serendipity in the midst of our weariness to keep us going another day.

We, who are of the Book, have but one real enemy... he who rebelled from the Wonderful Place... he who was once Beautiful... and all that which causes sorrow and weariness in this world finds its' beginnings in this enemy.

But while it may appear he is victorious as we walk through hard times... and each day has its' own difficulties on various levels and in numerous ways (large and small)... the One who knows us more than we know ourselves reaches out to prepare that table before us... sometimes literally at an actual table... but most of the time in the form of Serendipity which comes to one who is looking for His presence.

Have you experienced it?  Are you looking?  When the fog of desolation has set in and the sunshine hides and you think you cannot go on one more day... do you look for a sign of His presence?

For it is those who are looking for Serendipity who most often find it... and those who desire His presence who realize that a gift of "brunch out" or a lovely visit to New England or a book or a coffee shop outing or tea time or a car repair or any number of other gifts given to those who could not pay for it themselves... they are all given in the name of the Morning Star... by other sojourners who give openly and willingly of their blessings.

It is these precious people who set the table which is prepared in the presence of the enemy of our soul... and give joy in the midst of hardship... a cold cup of water given in the parched surroundings... the Book says nothing given will go unnoticed by He who Rewards.

As for me and mine... I continue being watchful and thankful as I know He is preparing a table.  :)


Susan said...

I really look forward to Sunday Afternoon Tea with you - I feel blessed to be one of the first to read it, as I'm about 6 hours ahead of readers in North America :-)

Thank you for sharing your gift of writing with us, and for the reminder to be on the look-out for the blessings that are all around.

Mrs.Rabe said...

Beautiful words today, my friend...
He does prepare a table for us. How blessed we are!

matty said...

Lovely post!

Anonymous said...

A most meaningful verse to me too. And given to me as a reminder by my Heavenly Father as I pondered, worried and dreaded some gatherings I would have to attend, not so long ago. And HE did make it thus in those situations. Yes, some of those people have proven over the years to NOT be even my friends, nor really kin, in actions anyway. But it was peaceful and I survived intact because all the while that verse was playing in the back of my mind!! I so appreciate that HE takes care of us, no matter what we have to walk through.

Blessings, Elizabeth

Peggy Lorenz said...

Your Sunday Afternoon Teas are always a blessing to me! I am going through one of the darkest times of my life, but yesterday one of my daughter's teenaged "guy friends" brought me three large cans of pumpkin, as he knows I am a baker, and that pumpkin is expensive right now. What an unexpected blessing...Luke's kindness, and God's grace, totally blew me away! Thank you for reminding us to always be looking for the blessings in the midst of difficulty. :)

Heather L. said...

Will be watching to see how God provides a table for us this week....

freetobeme - Anita said...

I so enjoyed our Sunday Afternoon Tea today. Thank you for sharing.

J said...

your post reminded me of our Connecticut days. We lived in Avon and I savored every month of the 18 God gave us there.