I can still smell those pungent aromas of Indian food in our church gymnasium! Not just there. All throughout the large facility of the West Side Presbyterian Church, Englewood, New Jersey, where I served as Senior Pastor. I was a young pastor of an older, well-established congregation that had grown rather small, which was housed in a large, multi-purpose facility. Gorgeous sanctuary with elegantly carved wood from the choir loft to the elevated pulpit. A large fellowship hall with a full stage. Three floors of Sunday School rooms and nursery. Huge kitchen adjacent to a full gymnasium, that also had a bowling alley! I had an upstairs office with a separate entrance. Parsonage was next door. Behind was a paved parking lot probably for a hundred cars or more. Sadly, when I arrived, there were about 75 members.
One event I remember vividly was at Christmastime. One church family was from India. They had a large ‘family’ of Christian friends who lived mainly in New York City. They asked to use the church gymnasium for their group Christmas dinner. And, of course, we said ‘yes’.
Only one condition was added–that the pastor could be there to enjoy the fellowship while having a preeminent place at the very front of the line for the potluck dinner, which we called the ‘covered-dish supper’! Who could be such a brash, bold and boorish clergyman? ‘It’s me, it’s me, O Lord…standing in the need of chicken Korma!’
What great people they were. Women dressed so beautifully in saris. But the food! The aromas, the Indian spices and pickles! I’m salivating as I write! Truly the whole church edifice had that certain fragrance for all the Christmas season right up to and through the new year! I loved it.
Back to the Bible! For this is what Zechariah is referring to. In the 8th chapter he writes, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace'(v. 19). All that fasting will be in the past. No more dieting, either!
In heaven, it’s joy … forever! Feasting on the Lord Himself! All of Him… forever! We’ll never be full. There will always be more to learn and love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We’ll always be scratching the surface as we dig deeper, knowing that we’ll never totally plumb the depths of God. Always more.
After all, this is feasting time! The banquet-room doors are about to open! Can you smell the aromas wafting your way of His coming feast? Can you see the lights of heaven sparkling like a splendor we’ve never, ever seen before? Can you? Let the feasting begin!
Prayer: We’re looking forward to knowing you better. We love you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.