He [Messiah] has taken me to the banquet hall, and His banner over me is love. Song of Songs 2:4
Henry Shaw was a successful businessman in St. Louis. He set aside funds for beautiful Shaw's Garden. He also provided for a special service to be held annually in the church he attended. There was to be a sermon "on the wisdom and goodness of God as shown in the growth of flowers, fruits, and other products of the vegetable kingdom."
The same truth, on a smaller scale, is stressed in our houses of God. On special festivals and on ordinary Sundays flowers adorn our altars. On occasion, perhaps on Thanksgiving Day, food is brought to church for distribution to the hungry. These fruits of fields and gardens testify to the goodness of God as our Provider.
In the Old Testament the Israelites, by divine direction, were to observe festivals to the glory of God. During the Feast of Unleavened Bread a sheaf of the first harvested barley was presented to the Lord to consecrate the opening of the harvest season. Then came the Feast of Harvest, or Pentecost, marking the close of the wheat harvest. Loaves of bread baked from the first wheat flour were offered to God. These were basically religious festivals, not like secular county fairs. All male members over 12 years of age were to be present in Jerusalem for the celebrations. Jesus participated in these festivals.
New Testament Christians want every Sunday--every day, in fact--to be a time of thanksgiving to God for His goodness in providing for us through the products of the soil and through other gifts. They are especially thankful for the greatest gift of all--Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior. Through Him comes our eternal salvation.
Indeed, "Fair are the meadows, Fair are the woodlands, Robed in flowers of blooming spring." But "Jesus is fairer and purer." In His great love for us He gave up His life that we might have eternal life.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God for all Your gifts, especially the gift of Your Son, my Savior. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)