WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY A GREEN NIGHT?
I wanted to make a special meal for my daughter, her husband, and eight children. I decided to have a colour night, and because of the quantity of green vegetables which supply 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, steaming old stamps off letters to use, 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 instructed each person to wear green, to bring something green, and to prepare an explanation to be shared at the table on why their "green thing" reminded them about God.
Calais, my eldest grandchild (10 at the time), wanted to help me set it all up. We went shopping together, which was more fun than doing it 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), green drink (yuk!) and plastic tumblers. We used a green tablecloth and raided the garden to make a green centrepiece. Calais made green name place settings. It all looked amazing! There are so very many different colours of greens that we don't even think about on a daily basis.
I made a special rice dish and coloured the rice green, adding green capsicum, parsley, peas and finely cut bean. 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 healthy steam pudding but coloured the custard green! It looked yuk, but if you closed your eyes, it didn't taste any different.
Everyone joined in and looked the part. After we had eaten, while still seated at the table, we started our sharing time, going around to each one at the table.
Jaeger (8) shared his disappointment in not being able to bring a green frog because he couldn't find one. He deflatedly settled for his green toothbrush and told us how important it is to keep our teeth clean; otherwise they, too will turn green!
Natalie (the mother) shared next. She brought 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 and 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.
My son-in-law Mark 2 (I have two son-in-laws named Mark, so they are called Mark 1 and Mark 2) was full of enthusiasm. He had stripped a green vine off one of their passion fruits which reminded him of abiding in the vine. He had a fine message backed with Scriptures and everyone listened attentively.
My husband, Bill brought 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 leave your things lying around in other people's 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 to make a green clock. "God made the time," she said.
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, but her brilliant smile, which she constantly wears, didn't seem to convince any of us that it was a problem.
It was my turn. 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 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 was capable of causing an emotion that is likened to "green."
"What is this emotion?" I asked. 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 until 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 filtered through. Calais continued in a strong voice, "Because grandma invited us, right?" We nodded our ascent. "What did we have to do?" she continued asking. We were starting to get the hang of it now and answered that we had to wear and bring something green along with a little message. "Right!" replied Calais, and then 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 summarized every one's offering. We were amazed at this little girl's ability to do this. We had no idea she had this skill. 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!
Take time to make special times at your meal table. You will be amazed at what gifts will come forth.
VAL STARES (Director of Above Rubies in Australia)