He takes my arm once again and leads me back over the bridge through the court yard and into the castle. I am grateful for His lead as I find that I do not know my way around. It is strange to me that this castle, my heart, is so unknown to me.
Once in the foyer, we head to a corridor to the left. The corridor to the study, on the right, is the only corridor that I have really seen so far. The long left hand passageway is lined with closed doors on the right-hand wall. On the left is an enormous dining room. Finally at the end of the hall is the kitchen.
He opens the swinging doors to let us in. I am awestruck by the size of the room. It is huge! The walls are faced in warm river stones, the fixtures lines with red brick. The effect is warm and comforting, so familiar and inviting. This is a comfortable place for me, I feel safe, hidden from the crowds, in the kitchen. I like to be enmeshed in the preparation, protected from exposure outside in the dining room.
In anticipation, I survey the rest of the room. A double sided steel table runs down the center of the room. The right side wall is also lined with steel preparation tables. Clearly plating and presentation are to be done there. The left wall is lined first with stoves and ovens, then with a walk-in freezer and refrigerator. The left side of the center table is stocked for preparation with tools and bins of chopped vegetables and seasonings. The smell is wonderful and homey here, comforting, making me feel strangely at home.
After the size, the thing that strikes me is that it is already fairly clean, not like the study which required some effort to make livable. The dishes are clean, the front wall set for dishwashing. I find there are a few moldy fruits in the refrigerator, but little else seems to need cleaning.
“I don’t understand, Papa, I though you said we needed to clean this place.” I ask, confused.
He nods and takes my arm. “You know you are called to serve meat from here to my people. You have spent many hours here already. This place has seen much use over the last two years. It is ready for use, but you needed to see this for yourself.”
I am still confused as He leads me into the dining room. I see it is really two rooms, though. The first is a smaller, intimate room, seating only a few, closed off from the man room by a pair of pocket doors. The walls of both are burgundy and the carpeting a deep blue-green. The wainscoting is finely grained cherry or mahogany as are the simple, elegant table and buffet. The iron chandelier ringed by eight ivory candles also displays the same regal simplicity. Clearly the focus is the meal and not the room.
He bids me sit and serves me again. As I eat, I see there is nothing I can do to be unchosen. By His choice, He acted to accept and love me, and that choice is about Him, not me. With this, I can feel the wounds heal a little more.
After I finish, we leave the small table and He takes me into the main dining room. I cannot even count how many can be served at the immensely long table running down the center of the room. Each place is set with linen, but no china. Clearly the room is being readied for use, but use is not quite imminent.
“More will come here to be fed.” He tells me. “Not all will like what you serve. Some will come and choose not to eat, but those that eat of the meat you serve will be changed and grow.”
I feel overwhelmed and a little panicky at the thought. How can I possibly feed that large a group the kind of meal this room would anticipate?
I try to stammer out a question, but He tells me, “Let us go to the study and talk.” before I can manage to form the words.