“A Memorable Meal”
August 17, 2016
Our quiet neighborhood doesn’t get much excitement but it was humming yesterday evening with news vans, “Extreme weather chaser” vans, farm equipment and many curious sight seers who drove into our area. A straight high wind and rain storm wreaked havoc on Kraybill Church Rd. and the surrounding area of Donegal Township late yesterday afternoon. This photo shows John & Sylvia walking toward Eli’s damaged barn with a local Fox News van ahead.
“A Memorable Meal”
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“And he (the jailer) brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household” (Acts 16:34).
For many years we have enjoyed reading “Reminisce” which is a nostalgia magazine, celebrating the changing times with fun and engaging stories about what we loved in the past and how it shapes our lives today. When we were younger we saw it as the way our parents and grandparents lived, but now many of the reminiscings are of when we were younger! (We never saw that coming when we, as a newly married couple, might glance at “Reminisce” as they were piled on Stephen’s parents’ coffee table.)
But on our trip to Indiana we purchased “Reminisce Around The Table-Fond Memories of Food, Family and Friends”. It is an assortment of short stories chronicling memorable meals, “real-life stories told by people who live them, capturing the best of the past with cherished family photos, vintage ads and favorite dinner prayers.” Since many of the stories took place in the sixties during our childhood we could especially identify prompting some of our reminiscing.
Today we want to encourage our readers to do some reminiscing about memorable meals and then consider a meal in the Bible that surely became a source of reminiscing to those who partook.
Have you ever tried to tally how many meals you have eaten? Of course in most cases it will only be an estimate but based on our age we figure we’ve each had about 65,000 meals (give or take several thousand). That’s just based on our age and three meals a day. We don’t remember the vast majority of meals we’ve eaten but we certainly have had some memorable ones.
We may remember some for their tastiness or lack thereof. I still good-naturedly tease Brooksyne about one meal flop that took place early in our marriage. A friend gave her a new Mexican recipe for Chicken Mornay and she was excited to make it. The dish was memorable just because it tasted so bad that neither of us could finish our meal. She otherwise is an excellent cook and based upon our 40+ years of married life I figure she has prepared over 40,000 meals, give or take due to eating out and eating in other’s homes.
We remember other meals due to it being a special holiday or celebration. This photo was taken at our home in St. Marys, Pennsylvania some 30 years ago. My oldest brother, Mike, took the photo. That meal is in part special because we have the photo, unlike most meals over the years.
Today’s text records what surely became a memorable meal for all those involved and a future source of reminiscing. It’s a follow-up to yesterday’s message concerning the Philippian jailer who was spared from suicide and redeemed through salvation. The jailer immediately demonstrated evidence of his conversion by taking his maximum security prisoners, Paul and Silas, into his family’s household, by tending to their fresh wounds, and by being baptized. The last Scriptural reference to this jailer is our daily text when he joined Paul and Silas for a late night meal together. “And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household” (Acts 16:34).
“And he brought them into his house.” Of course we don’t know how far the house was from the jail but assume it was close. What a change for Paul and Silas who, a short time earlier had their robes torn off them, were beaten with rods, thrown into an inner cell and had their feet fastened in stocks. Now they were to experience the warm fellowship of a home and meal presented by the prison warden, no less. I wonder if the jailer was married and if so what his wife thought of him bringing these beaten prisoners into their home in the middle of the night!
“And set food before them.” Paul and Silas had been severely beaten the day before and there is no record of any meal in the prison. Even if there had been it’s hard to imagine it being very tasty since prison food usually doesn’t rate a 5 star review by the prisoners. The only appealing food I’ve ever considered was the fried chicken, mashed potatoes and biscuits from Aunt Bee’s kitchen she often prepared for jailbirds on the “Andy Griffith Show”. The food basket lined with the linen napkin she carried on her arm into the sheriff’s office made it all the more cozy and appealing. (Imagine prisoners getting linen napkins for their food clean-up!)
But back to our text, this was a middle of the night meal, with no detail as to who prepared it or how elaborate it was. One thing is for sure, they couldn’t call in for a pizza delivery!
However, the meal was prepared and whatever food was set before them, it surely was tasty on an empty stomach. And eating in a comfortable home setting is far superior to eating in a dingy jail cell with your feet in stocks.
Let’s consider the descriptive setting that followed the service of the food. The text says they “rejoiced greatly”. Now good food can surely do that but the text makes clear the reason for their great joy in the phrase concerning the jailer, “having believed in God with his whole household”. The real source of joy is our faith in Christ.
Paul and Silas had sung praises while in jail and we considered yesterday what songs they might have sung and how this might have made an impact on the jailer. Now, as they completed their time together at this late night/early morning meal and before the jailer and his family fade into Scriptural oblivion, do you think Paul and Silas taught the family household a hymn before departing? The following hymn would be an upbeat, testimonial hymn and one that brings rejoicing to a new believer’s heart as well as those of us who have served the Lord for a good many years:
Since Jesus came into my heart!
I have light in my soul for which long I had sought,
Since Jesus came into my heart!
Since Jesus came into my heart,
Since Jesus came into my heart,
Floods of joy o’er my soul
Like the sea billows roll,
Since Jesus came into my heart.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, when we consider life before receiving Christ as our Saviour and contrast it with life after coming to faith, we are profoundly grateful for the changes it brought. We no longer flounder in searching for the meaning of life, our sins no longer master us, and joy replaces the fear and uncertainty of tomorrow. We rejoice greatly that our sins are forgiven and that we have an inheritance in heaven that will never perish, spoil or fade. With growing anticipation we long for the greatest fellowship meal of all time when we will be joined with Christ at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. We rejoice greatly that we who are Your blood-bought children are invited to partake not only of the heavenly assortment of food but also the fruit of the vine. The same fruitful beverage that Jesus offered to His disciples the night of His betrayal has been reserved for us in heaven where we will drink it anew with Him in Your kingdom. Keep us faithful until that most glorious eternal reunion in heaven. Amen.
“I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Mathew 26:27b)
Ester took this photo from in front of our house before we got home. Before this tree was cleared we would have no motor access to our home from either direction. It’s a blessing to see the neighbors pull together to get the road cleared and it looks like Jerry brought down his tractor.
Major damage was done to our Amish neighbor Eli’s barn. Within two hours Amish crews were working to clean up and rebuild, as is typical of our Amish community. We visited with John and Sylvia, our Amish neighbors featured in our lead photo, who told us quite a story related to Eli’s barn damage. Eli’s hired hand was heading into the barn with his team of mules since the storm was on the horizon. He hurriedly got them settled and then headed for the door to seek refuge in the house. When he turned around to open the door it was missing and then he heard a loud kerplunk. It was the large oversized door that had just blown off and landed on the ground. It missed his exit only by seconds. If you link to the newspaper photo you will see the side of the barn that fell to the ground. (Notice the stacked hay just above the missing door.) We have three Amish families on Kraybill Church Road who do commercial farming. All three places sustained damage, though Eli’s barn suffered the most.
“Since Jesus Came Into My Heart” Video Collingsworth Family
“Suppertime” Video George Younce
Dinner Grace: Here’s a sample of one of many prayers in this book. This one is submitted by Elaine Turner of Frederick, Maryland: “As a child I learned this grace at summer Bible camp and taught it to our children when they were young.”
Come Lord Jesus, be our guest,
Our morning joy, our evening rest.,
And with our daily bread impart,
Thy love and peace to every heart.
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