As far as I'm concerned the ingredients for a fine dinner begin with the main course.  Read the following instructions and guess what I am describing: "Twist off the claws.  Crack each claw with a nutcracker. Separate the tailpiece from the body by arching the back until it cracks."  (Hint: I went through this exact process in college when I was attacked by a cat.  The cat was unharmed but I have never been the same.) Actually, this describes part of the procedure for correctly eating a lobster. I simply left out the massive sucking noises.

I never eat anything where the instructions include, "Open the remaining part of the body by cracking sideways. Separate the tail from the body and break off the tail flippers. Extract the meat from each flipper." Excuse me but I want to eat it, not autopsy it. To properly eat lobster you must have access to a bib, lemon, clarified butter (I prefer confused butter), a shell cracker, and a lobster fork.  That is more equipment than David used to slay Goliath. The bib is to give protection from the "wonderful juices that burst forth from the recesses." Call me wacky but I don't want my food bursting forth from any recesses. A similar warning says, "Use the bib.  Water can squirt at the least expected moment." This begs the question, Why would I want to eat any food that has the capability to squirt?

Just by reading the instructions one of the strangest dishes you will ever prepare is sauerkraut. Does this sound enticing? "Place a layer of thinly shredded cabbage in a stone crock . . .sprinkle lightly with noniodized salt . . . pound vigorously with a wooden stomper." That sounds like a gourmet dinner at a tractor pull.  It continues . . . "Place a board on top and place something  on the board to weigh it down." That, of course, will help keep the sauerkraut from escaping if it becomes violent from being pounded. 

Here's the kicker . . . "Set in a warm place to ferment. After about 6 days remove the scum that has formed on top." Again, call me wacky, but except for most of my meals in my college cafeteria I prefer not to eat anything that requires scum removal. Remembering how the sauerkraut was cooked, try this recipe for meatball glaze: "1 cup sauerkraut, 1 cup cranberry sauce, 8 oz. bottle of chili sauce." It's not necessarily good for the stomach but would be perfect for bricking a driveway or killing the Loch Ness Monster.

We just celebrated Easter and one of the things we probably did was participate in a big family meal. It may have included some of the foods mentioned above.  Mine did not.  Luke 14 tells us that God has prepared a Great Banquet. We can pick and choose what we eat at Easter but we cannot pick and choose who we will invite to the Banquet.  It is a "God-so-loved-the-world" kind of invitation. Everyone is invited. The cooking is done, the table is set, and the main course is the Bread of Life. As the Church, we need to spend more time delivering personal invitations to his Feast. Not every person will accept the invitation and we must be careful in how we deliver it. You'll recognize the invitation.  It is the only one written with the blood of Christ.

Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount that we are "the salt of the earth." We know it only takes a pinch of salt to make food pleasing to the palate and that too much salt is not good for us. Yes, we are to be the salt of the earth but when others  see us as "holier than thou" we have used too much salt and ruined their appetite for spiritual food. If we ever get around to offering the invitation to God's Banquet it falls on deaf ears and hungry hearts.  The key to the number of people at the table may depend on us knowing the difference between being salt and being salty. Next time you want to be the Church please remember to share the Bread of Life . . . and go easy when you pass the salt.

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