By Steve Gregg
Babette’s Feast has been a go-to movie in the Gregg house for years. It is a film taken from a short story by Isak Dinesan, better known for writing Out of Africa. Babette’s Feast is set in a small Scandanvian fishing village and centers around the lives of a widowed pastor and his 2 daughters. The pastor leads a small devoted group of followers who focus their lives on acts of service and intense piety. The daughters are discouraged from marrying in order to give themselves to a life of self-denying service. After the death of the father, a stranger comes to the village seeking refuge, which she finds with the sisters, who by his time are spinsters. Unbeknownst to the sisters, the stranger is Babette, a famous chef from Paris. As an act of gratitude for providing sanctuary, she decides to cook a feast for the sisters and the few remaining followers of their father in his honor.
The feast that ensues is a visual representation of grace. The preparation and the meal are powerful and beautiful. The impact on those that receive this act of gratitude is profound. The movie is a wonderful reminder that while service and selflessness are important Christian virtues, so are gratitude and joy. In fact, when you look at Scripture, we see over and over that God’s people are to be a people of joy and celebration. Whether it’s the call to celebrate God’s faithfulness in Leviticus 23:39, the examples of David, a man after God’s own heart who celebrated before the Lord (2 Samuel 6), or the numerous Psalms that focus on celebrating the goodness of God (Psalm 122), we see this theme come up again and again. But I think the most memorable celebration can be found in Luke 15, the parable of the Prodigal Son, when the father throws an incredible feast to celebrate his lost son’s return.. It’s amazing that Jesus gives us this story as a picture of heaven’s response when one sinner repents! A party gets thrown. Amazing.
One reason God instituted the Sabbath, a reason we often neglect, was to carve out a time each week for His people to remember and celebrate His faithfulness to them.. It’s one reason why joyful worship is a key component of our coming together on Sunday. That’s why I think we need to be more intentional about this act of celebration. Last year,we had a wonderful example in our Creekside at 50 celebrations. I was so encouraged as we made the time to thank God for his faithfulness to us over the past half century. One part of our celebration was the family meal. It was a great chance for us to come together as a family to worship, pray, and share in a wonderful meal prepared for us.
Given the Bible’s emphasis on joyful celebration, we think once every 50 years is not quite enough. So, in one week, we are going to do it again! On Sunday October 27th, we will have another family meal at Creekside to celebrate God’s faithfulness to us and to enjoy a meal together as a church family. We will start off with a time of worship at 4 PM in the sanctuary and then come out to the back to have a catered BBQ meal at 5 PM. Our intention is not to have a program during the meal but to allow folks plenty of time to enjoy each other. So many of the events we host at the church are involved in serving others, which is wonderful. We are also excited to have the chance to have a family meal that is focused simply on enjoying each other and God’s amazing grace towards us.
Please save the date on your calendar and join us for what we hope will be a wonderful example of God’s grace being made visible. See you there!