Some Thoughts About Grace
The Books Of My Summer (So Far)

Wichita Didn't Host An Ordinary Picnic

I’m reading through Isaiah. Shortly after God asked his prophet to walk around barefoot and naked for three years (who says the Bible is boring), the man has a vision of a future day when we’d all find ourselves in Jerusalem:

On this mountain [Jerusalem] the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine-- the best of meats and the finest of wines. (Isaiah 25:6)


Now, where I come from, banquets are saved for special events. Awards ceremonies, weddings, anniversaries. Potlucks were more common. We had those for about any occasion we could think up. To this day, my heart skips a beat at the thought of all that variety of food in one place. So. Many. Choices.


Elsewhere in the Bible, John tells us about a vision he was given that included some heavenly vegetation:

On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2)


Can you sense the excitement in these verses? It’s as if God is telling us, enjoy your potlucks for now. Sit down to your tables together. But someday, SOMEDAY, we’ll all find ourselves in Jerusalem (I’ve always wanted to go) and we’re going to have a banquet with rich food; aged wine, the best meat and a basket of assorted fruit so varied, it will leave you shaking your head. Any gathering we do now, in Jesus’ name, is just a precursor of the feast to come.


Maybe it’s because I had all this going through my head when I read the following article online that I threw up my hands in praise and shouted “hallelujah.”

Diverse Wichitans gather for barbecue with police: Hundreds turn out for Black Lives Matter protest-turned-picnic


I’ve been to Wichita once. I worked a baseball tournament there and toured the new-at-the-time basketball arena (Go Shock!) and believe me when I tell you, it’s a pretty typical midwestern town. I don’t say that in a belittling way. I’m from a midwestern town and, to me, it’s an extra-special place. I bet most folks who live in Wichita would say the same thing about their town. I say it’s typical to emphasize the fact that what they did in their little town could happen anywhere. I don’t know whose idea it was to host this protest-turned-picnic but I would certainly like to shake his or her hand. I think what they did in Wichita is way more than your average potluck picnic. I think it’s a lot more like the banquet God promises us someday.


I think the picnic tables and park benches where the people sat down to eat barbecue chicken became altars where they laid down their differences. The park was sacred ground pointing us to the day John told us about when leaves from the tree of life will heal the nations.




In the Lord’s Prayer, believers recite these words:

Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. 


We say this right before we ask God for our daily bread (more food). Wichita, I see you. Your protest-turned-picnic brought a little piece of God’s Kingdom among the corn fields. It wasn’t the heavenly banquet we’re promised someday and it didn’t heal the nations; not yet. Still, as I read about your event, I knew we’d caught a glimpse of better days ahead. 


Amen and amen.


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