I was at a beautiful benefit banquet the other night. I could spend pages telling you how inspiring it was and how wonderful the company was at my table. But I would like to tell you about the dessert. It was apple streudel, with a strawberry sitting in a dollop of whipped cream, with some yummy looking rum sauce on the side. And it was sitting on the elegantly set table when we first sat down.
I think the dessert set out on a formal place setting is like the virtue of hope. Hope, St. Paul says, is an anchor. It roots us in the reality that heaven is waiting for us once we get through this valley of tears. It reminds us that there is something greater than what we can see before us.
One other reason I think dessert is a good analogy is because the dinner we had wasn’t something I had to suffer through. I like salad, the bread was warm and yummy, and dinner was a delicious chicken, potatoes and veggies. Sometimes Christians get a bad wrap for looking toward heaven all the time, as if it indicates that we hate this life. No way! Sometimes in our own sorrows we can forget that this life is beautiful and think that it is something we have to suck up before we get to die. While we do have pain in this life, sometimes overwhelming pain, this life IS good. And it is full of joys in their due time.
Having dessert on the table reminds us not to get too full of the good things in front of us and save room for what is to come. (For instance, I didn’t finish all my potatoes just for that reason). We need to enjoy what we have here on earth, but without becomming so attached to these things that we no longer want heaven. I think this is what it means to be “in the world” but not “of the world”.
And the streudel WAS tasty!