Anyone dining together with the Queen, including the members of the royal family, must keep this simple rule: one must always follow Her Majesty’s every move and do what she does. So if she stops eating, everyone else at the table must also stop. There’s a glorious scene in the recent film “Victoria & Abdul” where Victoria is depressed but has to sit through yet another formal dinner. She guzzles and slurps her way through the courses barely able to see over the top of the table – and the table is so long that the guests at the other end have hardly been served their soup before they have to stop eating it as she has finished!
It is said that the current queen – not as miserable as Victoria was back then – reserves a little morsel on her plate to push around in order to let others finish their meals!
Meals are miserable when they are formal occasions, you don’t really know anyone else and you are petrified of breaking some unspoken rule of etiquette…
Jesus found himself at such a miserable meal:
Luke 11:37-41 (CEV)Jesus Condemns the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law of MosesWhen Jesus finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him home for a meal. Jesus went and sat down to eat. The Pharisee was surprised that he did not wash his hands before eating. So the Lord said to him:
You Pharisees clean the outside of cups and dishes, but on the inside you are greedy and evil. You fools! Didn’t God make both the outside and the inside? If you would only give what you have to the poor, everything you do would please God.
Oh no!!! He’d forgotten to wash his hands – and it is pointed out to him and everyone else by the snooty, smarmy, smug (and rude!) host. Or did Jesus do this on purpose – did he set up this situation – luring them into a trap he was ready to spring? Something tells me that most toddlers would NOT get away with Jesus’ comeback!
Now little Sammy, have you washed your hands? errr…. You know you should always wash them before sitting down for your dinner, don’t you? errr…. Here, let me have a look… STREWTH, they’re filthy! Go and wash them at once! Well, dad – you clean the outside of cups and dishes, but on the inside you are greedy and evil. You fool! Didn’t God make both the outside and the inside? If you would only give what you have to the poor, everything you do would please God.
We get the point, though, whether it was a Jesus set-up or not. We are all fools if we worry more about “appearances” than the fundamentals of who we are and who motivates and drives our hearts – the outside, not the inside. Our insides are clean if we give to the poor…