Friday, March 27, 2009

Fish fry!

Today’s Reading: John 21:8-9 (NIV)

8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore; about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

Good morning!

After a fishing expedition, my father would set up a large fryer at the end of the picnic table, and as the oil heated, he would gut and filet the fish we had caught that day. Mother would stand beside him with her hands dipped in the bowl of corn meal and spices, ready to roll the fish and drop them into the vat of hot grease. Within minutes, we would have ourselves a fish fry, and the campground neighbors would stop by for a sample. On the table, we set a plate of sliced, homegrown tomatoes, a tossed salad with French dressing, and a hot crock of macaroni and cheese. This meal would not be complete without a little tartar sauce and catsup for dipping. I can still smell the fish frying today.

There’s nothing like the taste of a little homegrown hospitality. The joy my Father felt as he served his family and friends the catch of the day may have seemed a bit trivial to some; yet, this is what he lived for. He could use a razor sharp knife like a trained master chef. It was an art form that I never picked up on. How he could remove the spine and tiny bones from a fish in one fell swoop, leaving no “hangers” to pull out of your teeth as you bite into the culinary delight, was beyond me. I watched him do it a million times, but I never learned how.

We can learn from the Master when we take a closer look at His banqueting table. Jesus had cooked breakfast for the boys. He lovingly prepared the table in advance for them, even as they worked for their catch of the day. What would you give to have a sit down meal with the Lord Jesus Christ as your heavenly host? Can you imagine the warm welcome you receive, walking through the sand toward the campsite that has already been prepared? The fire has been started, the fish is cooking on the coals, and fresh bread has been broken and is waiting to be consumed. I imagine the grin on the Master’s face was just as wide as my father’s smile as he served up his world famous fried fish.

Jesus is the master of radical hospitality. He offers Himself up as a humble servant, feeding the hungry and inviting all to His table today. This is a heavenly feast that will feed our rumbling bellies and hungry souls. Take a break from what you are doing and come to the table; for the Lord Jesus Christ has set a special place and is waiting just for you.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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