I live in Canada - the land of reputed politeness and niceties. It's an often true reputation that pervades our culture and humor over the never ending stop at the three way stop with each idling vehicle nodding to the others genially, "After you... I insist..."
I had a day dream the other day while I was sitting in a worship service in church. A man had invited guests to his home. It was a dinner party, and when the first guest arrived, he was given the task of opening the door for the guests who would arrive after him.
As the doorbell rang, he ran to open it adding urgently, "No! Don't take off your shoes, leave your coat on... come here. I will serve you your dessert." While the host in the kitchen continued to prepare the meal for his guests to eat, the pseudo-host organized those who came after in a most bizarre fashion.
He got them to switch seats, to sit, but then to stand, he asked them to eat different courses of foods out of turn. As a spoon of soup was brought to one mouth and a creamy dessert brought to another, the other guests looked at each other in confusion, knowing that something was awry. They waited for someone to take the first bite. The pseudo-host glowed. "Oh no! YOU eat. I don't need a thing. I will watch you all and serve you. I will fill your plates and bring you your next course. I will witness your satisfaction and you won't need to witness me getting my fill.
Finally the real host gently stopped him, "Friend... I invited you here as my guest. i am the host and what you are doing isn't appropriate behavior.Your attempted kindnesses are not only robbing your fellow guests of the experience I intended for them, but you have chosen hunger over partaking. This isn't right."
I opened my eyes and they rested on the pastoral staff in the front row - eyes closed, arms raised in worship.
And it was like a little wave of understanding washed over me in that little moment of wonder.
Invited to God's house, they attended. Ushered to the throne room, they worshiped. They ate, they drank - not waiting for another guest's first bite, but partaking at the invitation of The King. Each course delivered in it's time. No guest's need escaping the tender eye of the holiest of Hosts.