OUR GREEN NIGHT!

We had moved into the renovated carport which is situated at the end of our daughter, Natalie’s and her husband’s home. We have become quite cosy in our small compact but lacking nothing home.  Our son-in law Mark 1 (I have two sons-in laws, both are named Mark so we call them Mark 1 and Mark 2) asked me why we had invited a number of people for a meal, including Mark 2, Helena and children, and yet we had never invited them?

This does not mean we hadn’t had meals together. “They number eight altogether and it was always easier for 10 of us to eat around their lovely big table than to try and squash them in here. Obviously Mark 2 wanted an invitation, but what could I do to make it really special?

I decided on a theme, a colour night, and because of the quantity of green vegetables which would give me good nutritious food without having to work hard I decided to make green the colour for this occasion.

First I wrote each member of the family a personal invitation in separate envelopes, steamed old stamps off letters and used them, walked down the drive and “posted” them in the letter box when no one was watching.  The next morning I could hear the squeals of delight, as each child discovered their own letter.  (I would like to have done the invitations on green paper and used green envelopes but I ran out of time).  I instructed each person to wear green, to bring something green and to prepare an explanation to be shared at the table on what their ‘thing’ reminded them of about God.

Calais, my eldest grandchild (10) wanted to help me set it all up.  We went shopping together. It was more fun than it would have been alone, even if it did spoil some of the surprises. I was aware of teaching her true hospitality at the same time. We bought green plastic cutlery, plates, bowls, serviettes, balloons, streamers, sweets (for a little treat), drink (Yuk) and plastic tumblers.  Natalie lent us a green tablecloth and we had the greatest fun setting the table. We raided the garden to put greenery in the centre of the table. Calais made green name place settings.

I made a special rice dish and coloured the rice green. (We normally have brown rice but for this occasion I used white).  It had green capsicum, parsley, peas and finely cut beans in it. The men like their meat so it included chicken, which didn’t go green though no one seemed to notice.

For desert I made a lovely healthy steam pudding but coloured the custard green! It looked Yuk, but if you closed your eyes it didn’t taste any different.

It all looked amazing!  There are so very many different colours of greens that we don’t even think about on a daily basis. Everyone joined in and looked the part.  After we had eaten, while still seated at the table, we started our sharing time, going around each one at the table.

First was Jaeger (8).  Firstly he shared his disappointment in not being able to bring the green frog he longed to because he couldn’t find one.  He had rather ‘deflatedly’ settled for his green toothbrush. He told us how important it is to keep our teeth that God gave us to chew our food with clean, otherwise they too will turn green!  Keeping things clean is part of our Christian duty, especially our hearts.

Natalie (the mother) shared next. She apologised for not preparing properly but she did manage to bring some parsley and explained how wonderful God is that He created something so amazing.  The parsley roots go down into the brown dirt and draw from the earth nutrients to make it grow.  It grows and flourishes in the light of the sun and is watered by the rain, which only makes it grow greener and healthier.   The parsley is full of goodness and it was God who provided us with this wonderful food to garnish our meals and bless us with health.

Next came Kaylah (3) and Jace (18 months). Kaylah was chosen as the spokesperson. They showed us their handfuls of grass.   She explained that God made the grass for the horse to eat. Jace echoed the word horse and grass a number of times and it was evident they were in agreement.

Mark 2 was full of enthusiasm.  He had stripped a green vine off one of their passion fruits.  Yes, you guessed it.  This vine reminded him of abiding in the vine. He had a fine message backed with Scriptures and everyone listened attentively.

By now it was Calais’ turn but for some reason she wanted to go last so we skipped to grandad, my husband Bill. He had a green sock! He held it high and asked who it belonged to. The guilty person owned up and then was asked; "Did you know that God tells you to pick up after yourself and not to leave your things lying around in other peoples places causing them to have to pick up after you?”  Some of us weren’t quite clear where that Scripture is found but the message came across loud and clear.

Anais (5) had a green plate for which she had found two Popsicle sticks, which become hands to make a green clock. She wasn’t quite sure what it reminded her of about God except that God made the time!

Paige (7) had a zucchini and her message was similar to her mother’s but lacking a little detail. Sadly, her closing comment was that she didn’t like them.  She confessed she doesn’t know why God makes some things that we don’t like? Her brilliant smile, which she constantly wears, didn’t seem to convince any of us that it was a problem.

Then it was Grandma’s turn! (mine).  I showed them the money in my hand. Everyone protested."That’s not green; you said we had to bring something green”. (We don’t have any ‘green’ money in Australia). I just sat there saying nothing while everyone berated me by saying how unfair it was that I should get away with not bringing something green. The verdict was that I had cheated.  Finally they settled down and allowed me to speak.

I shared that even though the money wasn’t green; it actually was capable of causing an emotion that is likened to ‘green’ when you have it.  Could they tell me what that emotion is? The adults were encouraged to give the children a chance to guess. “You see,” I explained, “mine is a ‘hidden green’ and it’s not a good one. This money reminds me to always be thankful to God for His provision and not to rely on other securities such as money or be envious when others have money and I don’t!”

At last it was Calais’ turn. (10) Surely she must have something brilliant for her to want to wait till last. To our disappointment she produced a green cup and some green cutlery that was left over from setting the table.  Like the rest of us she stood up to share. She cleared her throat then proceeded to fire questions at us. Why are we all here tonight?  A few weak answers came filtering through. Calais continued in a strong voice, “Because grandma invited us, right?”  We nodded our ascent.  What did we have to do? was the next question. We’re starting to get the hang of it now so we join in by answering that we had to wear and bring something green along with a little message.  “Right!” said Calais, and then she went round the table commenting on each person’s offering and what they had to say about it.  She tied everything up, pulled the whole night together and summarised every one’s offering.  We were amazed at this little girl’s ability to do this.  We had no idea she had this skill. None of us have it, and because she is home-schooled it isn’t something that she has picked up from others. God has given her this gift and when the opportunity afforded, being comfortable amongst her family she let herself go.

In the shock of the moment I have no idea what she had to say about the cup and utensils. I think that it just paled into insignificance as it dawned on us what God had revealed to us right there at the table.

VAL STARES

Val is the Director of Above Rubies in Australia

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