Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Southern hospitality

LUKE 14:12-14
12 Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.

13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,

14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Being born and raised southern I've learned that there are many southern traditions that confuse and confound the rest of the world. I've also learned that many of the traditions I hold dear to my heart aren't just southern traditions, but rather traditions that come from many cultures making all of our lives richer.

I absolutely love to sit at a table that has been set to the max with all special touches. I don't get to do this often, but when I do have guests over I want to pull out all the best of everything and serve the best food. Did you know that Georgia has its own official china? In February 1974, Governor Jimmy Carter signed the Georgia General Assembly's resolution number 573 making the Georgia Historical Plates the official plates for the State of Georgia.

Setting a beautiful table is so important to me. I want something special for my guests to enjoy along with me so I bought a few pieces of official Georgia china and I've uploaded a picture of one of the plates today. I treasure the pieces of official Georgia china I have and hope that I will be able to pass down those pieces to my grand daughters who will also treasure the times we have shared our meals together using this special china. The plates all have bits and pieces of Georgia history printed on the front and back. Each time I use the dishes I ask my guests to read what their plate has to say on the back and have them look for the symbols on the face of the plate that tell the story of the State of Georgia. It’s so much fun.

In this mornings devotion time as I began to think about what it must have been like to sit at the same table that Jesus sat at and enjoy his company, I was struck by the thought in the passage above. It's easy to serve family and friends and we certainly can get caught up in trying to impress people but Jesus was telling us that true rewards come from serving those that are less fortunate. I want to hold that thought in my heart and act on it as this year offers big and small opportunities.

Mind you, there certainly isn't anything wrong with serving family, friends or even impressing folks with the official china of Georgia. After all, that's part of my southern heritage! *giggle* Maybe what others think might be classified as trying to impress folks is just plain everyday southern hospitality and pride. At least that's the way I'm thinking about it because any Steel Magnolia wouldn't have it any other way.


Nonnie said...

wow....a state that has official china....that has to say something!

i love to set a fancy table also....but don't do it too often. arizona is far more laid back i imagine! :) but i do use my husband's grandmother's china for special occasions....i do love a reason to celebrate.

have heard so much about that southern hospitality....i need to experience it some day.

my thoughts have also been on the opportunities to help others...and being mindful of following through.

Just Joni said...

Oh, I have so much to say about this post, but I fear I would write and write and there would be no more room left. I love your Georgia china and I didn't know that it was made "official", I think that is really special. What girl wouldn't want pieces of her heritage to share with others. I myself like to dress a table for guests (which isn't very often), but instead of thinking about it impressing them I try to keep a frame of mind that I am honoring them, so I try to give my centerpieces and linens a special touch. I have often wondered what it would be like to sit at the table with Jesus and I'm afraid I would be in such awe that I wouldn't be able to eat...one time (last year?)my family brought a young man home that was wandering around in the cold and we fed him and allowed him to take a shower while I washed his clothing and I have to say we were all very cautious about the situation, but my son kind of knew him so we just let God guide our hospitality and the young man in return paid us back tenfold by playing the guitar for us and entertaining us through the night while his clothes were drying. We delivered him to a safe place to sleep for the night and I pray that he got matters in his life straightened out, but I will never forget his disbelief of our kindness and how that made me feel. We ALL felt Jesus in our hearts that night...

Have a lovely day Phyllis.

pfranklin said...

Kim, I love any reason to celebrate too and Joni, thank you so much for telling me about your table and the man your family brought out of the cold into your home. What a blessing.

Annette said...

Dear Phyllis,
Sorry this is a late entry but I love the storie. I have everyday dishes, but hope to have some one day, I guess I better get to collecting, I like Joni wonder how the table is set in heaven, if only I could see above the cloud's.

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