I cook dinner. A lot. I set the table a lot. I yell downstairs for my boys to come up for dinner. A lot. I get frustrated when they ignore me and come late to a cold plate. But all the frustration wipes away (sometimes quickly, sometimes gradually) when they finally join me for family dinner. For, on my best days, it is their faces that I want, not simply mouths to be fed.
I do this to the Lord regularly. He prepares lavish feasts for me in His word. He prompts me with His Spirit, prodding me, patiently pleading with me to come. I drag my heals, convincing myself I did not hear His divine dinner bell. I tarry at my own urgent tasks until my stomach aches with hunger and my energy dissipates. Then, I come to the table to see His forever forgiving face, and wonder why I ever hesitated to drop everything and run to our divine date.
The laundry, it can wait.
I simply cannot be late.
He has prepared a plate
For our daily divine date.
Often I’ve neglected Him
Our times I’ve begun to trim,
Chasing each lesser whim.
Yet in His love I still swim.
His love – it’s disconcerting.
He keeps faithfully asserting,
And jealously diverting
Lovers who’ve been flirting.
So, I, though still part beast,
Come to my lover’s feast
With wonder uncreased,
And joy ever increased.
Stay here awhile, my soul,
For life does take a toll.
Feast on the Divine dole.
In Him be made whole.
George Herbert, much more poetically and perfectly, shares the same sentiment in the last poem of The Church.
Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack’d anything.
A guest, I answer’d, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unking, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Why made the eyes but I?
Truth Lord, but I have marr’d them; let me shame
Go where it doth deserve,
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.
Today, in the midst of the tyranny of the urgent and even the good desire to work for the Lord, may we take a stolen moment to gaze upon the One whose gracious gaze is never diverted from us.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat. We must sit and eat.