Pastoral Perspectives

The Road to the Ultimate Reunion Banquet

Last year on 26 December, immediately after Christmas, I noticed that some shopping malls took down Christmas decorations and started putting up Chinese New Year decorations. I would normally take down my Christmas tree and other decors only after New Year and linger on in the festive mood just a little longer. I guess businesses don’t linger on for people to get over it. It would be rather odd to look back and purchase things for bygone events. It makes much more sense to prepare for the next one. The earlier, the better. And before I knew it, Chinese New Year music was already in the air!

People go to great lengths to prepare for this festive reunion which affects more than a billion people around the world. Many people book their tickets way ahead of their journey. After putting in so much effort to come home for the reunion, if they miss the train or flight, one can only imagine how frustrating it will be.

Closer to home, people are busier than usual. The rubbish dumps are overflowing as people started spring cleaning – getting rid of things in order to make way for the new. Then there’s buying of new clothes in various shades of red and some hues of pink. The town is literally painted red! Invitations are abuzz as family members plan their schedule to ensure that they have every family member covered. And then there’s the massive shopping spree that goes into preparation for the reunion meals. Some prefer to gather in restaurants because the preparation takes too much time and effort. Young children look forward to receiving red envelopes from parents and relatives. There is so much excitement and expectations leading up to the celebration. A closely knitted family will enjoy the fellowship around the table with laughter and sharing of blessings, as it ought to be.

But not all is bright and beautiful at the reunion table. There are those who wish to hide away during the reunion. Some put up a face just to be there and can’t wait to get away from the glares of other family members. Some people do not look forward to the reunion. And then there are those who are not invited to the dinner because they are not part of the family.

As an outsider and a believer in Christ, I find this reunion very beautiful and meaningful. I think it is a very wonderful tradition, albeit the superstitions that come with it. There is a great reunion banquet that awaits everyone who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Revelation 19:9 says

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

The annual reunion celebration can be a foretaste of what is to come when Christ returns to be with us forever and ever. Even as many people travel far and wide to be with their loved us, as believers, we are also on a journey, travelling to our ultimate home to be reunited with Jesus and our newfound family in Christ. And the invitation to this reunion has long been sent out.

Verse 9 says, “Blessed are those who are invited …”. It is an extraordinary invitation unlike any other. Those who are invited are considered blessed. Even as we greet each other with blessings during this season, the greatest blessing is to be invited to this banquet because this invitation comes with abundant blessings that nothing in this world can offer. Anyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as his/her personal Saviour is invited to this banquet as a child of God and blessed.

Romans 8:14-17 says, 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

To name a few blessings:
1. Children of God are led by the Spirit of God and have security, not fear. God is not an employer. He is God the Father.

2. Children of God have a new identity and name in Christ. They bear the new family name as adopted “sons and daughters” of God.

3. Children of God have a close relationship with the Father and call him “Abba Father”.

4. Children of God have the assurance that they are indeed God’s sons and daughters, which the Holy Spirit bears witness to. No one can take it away from them.

5. Children of God are heirs of God and share an equal inheritance with all believers. This is unlike what is practiced in the world today where there is unequal distribution of inheritance.

6. Children of God are “like” Christ in sharing the sufferings and glory of Christ.

7. Children of God have a worldwide family.

As you gather at the table with your loved ones during this festive season, may God’s abundant blessings as a child of God give you much peace and joy. May your cup overflow to others who have yet to receive the ultimate blessing from God. To those who are not invited to any reunions, take heart that you are already blessed in Christ.

As it began, very soon the decors for Chinese New Year will be taken down, making way for the next festival or event. In the midst of all the changes, may our hearts rejoice knowing that God is preparing the Utlimate Reunion Banquet of the ages for His children. Meanwhile, may God’s abundant blessings continue to abound and flow!