In which we have a disastrous dinner

by Craig on March 22, 2011

This is part two of the story – if you haven’t read part one – you really need to for this to have it’s true impact. (it’s here)

…The baker begins the blessing “In the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ…”

But suddenly there’s commotion.

A slave has come and whispered in the ear of the owner of the house.

The homeowner rushes from the table and out of the room, spilling a jar of wine on both the table and the baker. The prayer is interrupted and cloths are gathered to clean up the spill; his wife dutifully dabbing her husband’s tunic.

Now he enters the room,

a Roman Senator.

His toga is sparkling white,

and is lined with a deep purple.

He’s wearing silk.

and his whole outfit shimmers in the torchlight.

On his fingers he wears large rings, signets, with family seals. The ones he uses to mark his letters and documents. Pressing them into clay and sealing the letters he sends.

The owner of the house eagerly leads this Roman Senator in the direction of his very own seats, just next to the baker. He is making sure to bow slightly as he speaks nervously to the new guest, “Come, I have the most splendid seats for you.”

Then he passes right by his own seats.

The Baker is just about to begin the blessing anew. But he and his family are shoved aside in haste.

More wine is spilled. This time the Senator’s personal slaves are quick as honey bees in cleaning it up. They act urgently, as if their very life depended upon making everything perfect for their master.

The senator and his family take their spots.

The honor that moments before had filled the baker and his bride has now turned to frigid embarrassment. The man stands shamed in front of his wife and his demeanor drops to the floor.

He has been reduced to rubble. His wife fights back tears, not of shame, but of mercy.

“Where can we sit?” the baker asks in a hushed voice – nobody wanting to upset the new guest.

The answer comes abruptly from the owner of the house, “Just move – over there by the wall – or the floor, I don’t care – just move.”

The eyes of the Senator lock with those of the baker for a moment. It’s the gaze of superiority – the living example of “looking down your nose at someone”.

You’d think there would be resentment in the eyes of the baker. But he knows better, bows his head, and averts his glance.

He and his family are removed like the spilled wine, and with just as much respect.

This picture is from the HBO series “Rome”. It’s a pretty good idea what the Butcher and his wife might look like – before being removed.

There is no space in this middle room, and so comes the baker’s procession of shame through the room, into the front of the house.

But that room is full as well.

You would think people would make room. But they want no part in this disorder. They feel for the baker. But to display any Christian kindness might be to invite consequences.

Finally they find their spot. It’s just outside the house, on the street, where they all take their new seats. He and his wife exchange an understanding glance. They have been reminded of their station in life.

But still, the sting is harsh, the wound fresh, the evening, a disaster.

The gathering proceeds. The Senator is invited to give the blessing…

James 2:2

For if a man with gold rings on his fingers and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here, please,” while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs?

God Bless

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

A. March 22, 2011 at 10:16 pm

This is making me reflect upon my own life, to see where I do this. I do not entertain senators, but do I step on people in other ways? I know it will be deceptive somehow so I am going to have to ask God to show me. I think He is…thoughts come to mind…certain people whose beliefs (and actions and words) are very painful toward me…do I treat them as though they are somehow less desirable because of their ‘broken’ beliefs? Painful, Craig, very painful yet needed. Thank you.

I love the second picture…the look on the man’s face…loving and gracious and kind and accepting towards his ‘wife’ in your story context.

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Craig March 23, 2011 at 9:48 am

When I look to see what a verse might mean I’m reminded to always look at context first. Too many verses isolated – misunderstood. We all do it – I do it too. It’s those number! I blame it on the numbers :)

This section is all about judging. Whether rich judging poor, or poor judging rich, or the offended judging the offender – James is not going to be easy on people who judge.

I. can’t. be. judgy.

God bless A.

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Debbie March 23, 2011 at 12:23 am

Thinking and applying this, like A. It seems so ingrained in us to be more forthcoming to those who show signs of wealth, be more respectful, more willing to serve them than the poor ones. . .who go unnoticed and unconsidered. We all would rush to see if someone famous was going by, but who rushes to the side of a homeless person? Jesus does, doesn’t He? So should I.
Thanks for letting me think here. :) Also, I can’t afford new, nice clothes, to get my hair done, etc. I can be clean though. ha! But, I forget all about it, how I look . . .until I get treated kind of like that baker.
God bless you and thank you for writing for us and for Him!

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Craig March 23, 2011 at 9:50 am

Remember way back to my early posts – months ago – why James was killed.

His defense of the poor was a hallmark – and his end. James thought like Jesus – and we know what Jesus thought. God Bless deb.

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Michelle March 23, 2011 at 2:24 am

We do that without thinking, don’t we.

Thank you for the reminder, Craig.

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Craig March 23, 2011 at 9:54 am

Me too Michelle. If we ever really stop and look at how unworthy we are – oooof.

Bless his heart for Grace.

God bless.

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