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. For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain.”
Pause. Pray. Reflect.
I love food. Eating it. Making it. Sharing it. Feasting on it. In the mid 1990s the all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants were having a moment. Before the rise of celebrity chefs, farm to table, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and keto, there was this economical way to feed a lot of people a LOT of food.
Many a special occasion in my family and friend circles at the time meant going to one of these buffets and truly eating all we could. After all, having an abundance of food is a sign of an abundance of wealth – physically and socially. Having an abundance of food means you have the ability to care for yourself and your family and friends.
I assume it was the same in the prophet Isaiah’s time. People of every type, in every place, of every time require food for sustenance and, I would add, socialization. So, using the image of a luscious meal to foretell of the “feast” that God provides, through Jesus, would be something to which the people of Isaiah’s time could easily relate. Seen through that lens, this reading brings so much hope. God provides for me – for us – in abundance and destroys death as we know it.
And yet, sometimes I question whether God provides. Many days I am blinded by the comparison game, that game where the little voice in my head – often loud and persistent – lists all the things and abilities that others have that I don’t have. And somehow my lacking those things decreases my value. And in listening to that voice, I make choices to consume anything and everything to make up what I seemingly lack. I create a feast of my own – saying yes to every project, binge watching Netflix, impulsive retail therapy, mindless social media scrolling and, yes, actual eating, indulgently.
But, like those all-you-can-eat buffets, I’m just filling my plate with mostly empty calories. I lose sight of the rich feast already provided for me by our oh-so-generous God. In those lost moments, unlike the people Isaiah speaks of, I am not waiting – or at least not waiting well for the One who will, and does, save us. God’s abundance is so beyond my comprehension sometimes that it is difficult to wait.
But still, God gives. So much.
He doesn’t have to. He wants to.
And He wants me to feast on the vast goodness only He can provide. We were meant to feast!