Friday, April 10, 2020

Devotional for Easter Sunday

God Provides a Feast for All

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
    a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
    of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
 And he will destroy on this mountain
    the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
    the sheet that is spread over all nations;
    he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
    and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
    Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
    This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
    let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Isaiah 25:6-9

One of my favorite restaurants also has a great name–Feast. The word rings with celebration and conjures images of abundance and welcome. It’s an Easter word, you might say. 

Easter celebrations often involve feasting. In addition to gathering with faith communities to shout “Hallelujah!,” many of us gather today around a table with family and friends. We will feast, and I will probably eat too many chocolate eggs. After the fasting and contemplation of Lent, enjoying God’s bounty becomes particularly delightful.

Fresco of a banquet, 4th century; public domain
Isaiah 25 imagines a feast of rich food and well-aged wines–God’s abundance from the productive, good earth. It is a spread for all peoples, nations who have waited earnestly for God’s arrival and salvation. It’s not a private party for a select few.   

And the really amazing aspect of this divine banquet? God is the host and chef of the meal. As the host, God draws up the invitation list so that all are invited. God prepares the feast’s atmosphere by wiping away all tears of sorrow and loss. This party is not a time for disgrace but joy. God selects the perfect location for this feast–God’s mountain where heaven and earth meet. God sets the delicious menu full of food and drink. The food will be decadent, the wine supple. What a celebration!

On this Easter day of joy, how might we find a place at God’s great table to feast together in praise of God’s salvation? 

Hallelujah! Christ is Risen!
You have swallowed up death and prepared for us a feast. May we rejoice in your salvation, for you are our God. We have waited for you to save us. Hallelujah! Amen.

Dr. Tyler Mayfield teaches Old Testament at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and is the author of the forthcoming book Unto Us a Child Is Born: Isaiah, Advent, and Our Jewish Neighbors.

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