"They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes."
It was the perfect garden party. Everybody was invited. Those who could, came. The beautifully appointed gardens were ripe with late summer color, our hosts gracious and welcoming. Tables laden with fragrant foods and sparkling refreshment awaited those who gathered. Lovely arrangements of summer flowers graced tables where guests lingered, catching up with one another and making new friends. A pool of water welcomed youth to spend themselves in play with utter abandon. Inspired music by our local troubadours set our feet to dancing and stirred our hearts to peace.
For three hours on a Sunday afternoon, our community gathered for the sheer pleasure of enjoying God’s abundant gifts and the company of friends. We relaxed into this garden sanctuary, where no beeping phones or video games interrupted stories shared with laughter and tears. For just a moment in time, all of us sank deeply and gratefully into this garden of holy delight as if there were no particular or better place to be.
The Kingdom of God is like this garden party. Everybody is invited. Those who can, come. Those who didn’t get the memo, or who forgot, or who were otherwise engaged, or who got lost on the way, will be invited again. The Bible is littered with stories of kings who hold a banquet, a father who hosts a wedding feast, a man named Jesus who invites us to table where we will be fed with living water and the bread of life and will hunger and thirst no more.
Every time we gather for worship we participate together in God’s kingdom come on earth as in heaven. The table of plenty overflows with the feast of God for the people of God. We’ve been profoundly blessed to linger over the cup of salvation and savor the bread of life together for this moment in time. We part with gratitude that now and for all time, we will be united in spirit with one another and the Lord of life who generously invites us to the garden party and feeds us until we want no more.
Prayer: There are no words adequate to express our gratitude for your gifts, O God. Receive the love we have shared with one another as our humble thanks. Amen
God’s grace, mercy and peace,
Pastor Anna Verlee Copeland
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