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Sermon Excerpt: Now the Feast..., John 6:51-58, Jim from B.C.

 

What's the most consistent image of heaven in the Bible? It's not the golden streets or pearly gates. It isn't harps or eternal singing. It's feasting with the family.

That doesn't mean that when we go to heaven, we are going to eat forever and ever. Even if we could be guaranteed never to gain weight, and never to have to clean up afterward, eating would become tiresome after a while. No, the reason Jesus often started his parables saying that the Kingdom of heaven is like a feast or like a banquet, is because he wanted us to know that heaven is about the joy of togetherness. It's about the union of soul brothers and soul sisters. It's about fellowship with Jesus and with each other, and it's about equal love for all.

There's a story I don't completely remember, but I think it was the archangel Michael who was giving a new angel a tour of heaven and hell. In one particular room in hell, there was a large group of people around a banquet table that was laden with lots of scrumptious food. But they were starving to death because they were unable to eat it. They weren't allowed to use their hands, and the only utensils they were given were five-foot long spoons.

On the tour of heaven, the angel saw a room that was identical to the one in hell. He saw the five-foot spoons leaning against the wall, but the people were fat and happy and having a good time. She asked Michael: "What's the difference between this group and the group in hell?" "Oh," said Michael, "in heaven they feed each other!"

In ancient times, eating and drinking together was more of a celebration than it is today. A meal together was a sign of mutual trust and a kind of pledge to be friends. In politics still today, when a head of state visits another country, they will often have a state dinner or ceremonial banquet, not because they need to fill their stomachs, but they need to cement relationships.

The same is true of our ceremonial meal in church ... Subscribers: click here for the full manuscript