Don’t mention the war..

I am grateful. We have enough money to buy nice food, warm clothes and everything we need (plus other luxuries we don’t need but LOVE). When I enjoy these things, such as tonight’s roast chicken dinner, I often think of wartime England. I LOVE hearing the stories of those local heroes who endured such bombardment and hardship, lived on rations and kept their spirits up in family and community fellowship.

My favourite TV show ‘Supersizers GO!’ illustrates what life was like in wartime England. The hosts of the show are a comic duo who attempt to emulate the lives of people from various eras in history, and wear the clothes, and carry on their pastimes in the very best humour. I remember the food that was served at their wartime England dinner table – they were blindfolded to taste each dish, and had to guess what it was they were eating. The funniest one was a ‘mock orange duck’ served up as a moulded round lump of sausage meat with apricot jam. Nothing like the duck that I am grateful to enjoy (not my own cooking of course), but the famed Red Velvet Lounge slow-cooked duck that I enjoyed for my wedding anniversary dinner a couple of years ago. There is nothing like melt-in-the-mouth duck.

I wonder if times were hard, and I was served ‘mock duck’ at RVL, would I close my eyes and pretend it was real, and not say anything, so as not to disturb the other patrons or offend the waiter? Actually, I would probably be the first to complain, I know how much I would be paying for it!

I really admire the fortitude of that generation, children growing up with bombs being dropped on their houses, children being orphaned and sent to homes in the country, and through it all they survived – and after V day, they thrived.

V day was described on my favourite show as a communal banquet where all the real foods came out off the black market and were enjoyed by everyone; real cream in real sponge cakes, real jam and meats, jellies and ice creams. A wonderful feast!

We still eat mock foods around here, the kids call it ‘Freedom Food’ because of the brand name. Due to intolerances to the 21st century diet, and its preservatives and processing, many people have turned back to eating foods in their purest form. Besides going for raw foods, there is widespread vegetarianism, but there is also a lot of egg, nut, dairy, wheat, yeast, fructose and gluten intolerances. This has created quite a market for food substitutes, even creating meat-like substances out of soy or beans. Still quite tasty though, but could never be close to real meat!

Well, this is not just the diary of a foodie. I meant to tell you about the most ultimate feast of them all – a wedding feast, to be held when the war is over.  How does this sound.. to be given new bodies and share together the most wonderful culinary delights without indigestion or heartburn or the resultant obesity from gorging ourselves. No really, this promise is one that I hope to share with all my friends and family. All are invited, but only some will RSVP.

There is a story about this in the bible, which is actually quite graphic, in true biblical style:

Matthew 22:1-14

1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

4 Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

[Duck has been slow-cooked??]

5 But they paid no attention and went off–one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 13 Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

At this banquet, there will be no fabrication, no mock duck, no insincerity or imitation. The wedding feast we are all invited to is eternal life with God. With Christ as bridegroom, the church is the bride – and his selfless act of love, his death on the cross to pay the price, it’s an invitation to all of humanity to be part of God’s family (see Ephesians 5:25-27). For the dress code, we come as we are, and will be given appropriate attire to wear. Here are some examples of appropriate attire:

Ro 13:14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Col 3:12-14 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Surely I wouldn’t want to go just for the free food!  I often think I don’t deserve to go. I can’t say that I am ever able to ‘clothe myself’ accordingly. But it’s God’s grace that covers me for this big event, and it’s His Son Jesus who gives me the finest clothes that I could ever hope for. ‘Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.’ (Rev 19:8) For that, I am eternally grateful.

The best bit is that we don’t need to wait until ‘V-day’ when the feast starts, to experience this kind of joy. It can be experienced here and now, a taste of what is to come.

‘Taste and see that the LORD is good. Blessed is the person who takes refuge in him.’ Psalm 34:8

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