Sunday, October 9, 2011

Seeing beyond the mist

Once more Jesus spoke to the people in parables, saying: "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, `Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.' But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, `The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.' Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, `Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, `Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen." Matthew 22:1-14

Last evening we went to the fire house for dinner. Several times a year our fire company puts on a spaghetti dinner, or a pancake breakfast, and they move out the engines and set up the tables. We had a lovely dinner and sat with old friends and neighbors. It's not a fancy gathering, but it is a time to laugh together and share stories from our lives. It seems that we have many characters in this little town, probably us among that crowd as well. It's a simple gathering, and there's no entertainment except the joy of being together - simply, it's an occasion not to be missed.

Jesus told the gathered group about God's kingdom by telling this story of a wedding banquet. At first this story has always seemed violent and confusing - would God really expel folks because they were not dressed right? And yet, I want to believe that it is not about clothes at all, but responding to the call with sincerity and humility. We are often too casual about all sorts of important relationships, and God wants us to hear today about how we might want to honor the blessings and the invitations in our lives. Love is not to be missed, and God's love, so precious a gift, is to be honored and above all.

Today, I ask God to help me honor the call in my life, to be grateful for all the expressions of love, and to attend closely to all the blessings in my life. I pray that we won't miss the opportunities for love and fellowship, and that we will take our call to service and love seriously today.

Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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