When one of those who sat at the table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is he who will feast in the Kingdom of God!” (Luke 14:15 WEB)
Fiestas were common on Guam. Holding on to island legends to be mixed with religious conversion there was a long history to the island’s culture. Between the historical celebrations and the religious celebrations there was always a good reason to party hardy!
These celebrations were large. If necessary a second mortgage on someone’s home would be used to pay for their daughter’s christening or sweet sixteen birthday party. It was taboo to have a small party for selected guests. Everyone in the family was invited and all the neighbors who heard the noise were welcome to wander on over.
A central food item, along with red rice, lumpia, pancit, and short ribs, was the roast pig. Watching the preparation was akin to watching an old swash buckling pirates and damsels movie.
The pig was killed somewhere and the carcass brought to the home. Then the pig was gutted and skewered on a long spit and placed over an open fire. For hours the spit was turned as the pig was roasted to a beautiful dark brown color. The head, tail and feet remained attached and the fur on the skin burned off over the fire.
When the meat was fully cooked the pig was un-skewered, placed on a long table with an apple in its mouth. Yes, they really did put an apple in the mouth. The family and guests gathered around the table, someone prayed a prayer and the feasting began.
The first time we went to a fiesta we were not sure how Ellice and Joel would react. I don’t remember the event but I do remember there was an abundant amount of food, a constant flow of beverages, and the requisite pig gracing the center of the food table.
Fiestas were generally buffet style eating arrangements. Each person grabbed a paper plate, a knife, fork, and napkin and then piled it as high as the plate would hold. If you were really a pig, or just hungry, you could take several plates to build up a stronger food base. You would then balance the plate on one hand, eat with the other and keep track of your drink.
Ellice walked up to the table and waited until someone placed a little pork on her plate. She then selected a few other delicacies she recognized. Joel, only four at the time, walked up and stared into the eyes of the roast pig. We watched to see what he would do. Our hosts noticed his stare and waited. It was like a staring contest which we felt the pig would win.
Finally, Joel turned to our host, who was serving the pig and said, “Give me some of that pig!” Our host smiled, laughed, and cut Joel a big piece of pork which he ate with delight. The pig might win in a staring contest but Joel had the last laugh.
We were invited to this banquet to honor a special event in the host family’s life. God has also called us to a great banquet. I’m glad we attended this earthly banquet and didn’t make excuses to stay away.
Sometimes we approach God’s invitation, like the banquet Jesus described, and make excuses. We don’t take time to enjoy the bounty of God’s provision. I think it’s time to remind myself I don’t want to be excused from God’s banquet table in heaven. I want to enjoy the feast He will place before us, including the roast pig. I can only imagine the delicacies He will have in store for me.