And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:1-14
I arrived last night to a crowded downtown Indianapolis. Due to the overwhelming heat, many communities had canceled fireworks so the crowd was huge, coming from all around for the display. Early this morning, I made my way over to the Convention Center to register for General Convention, only to find out that the registration was closed until 9AM. We had a roll call vote at 8AM. Some wonderful folks escorted me in to the House of Bishops, and our first legislative session began. It was very simple and very short. The rest of the sessions will be longer and more contentious. My sense this morning was one of joy, seeing so many I consider friends and family. We have much hard work to do, and there will be contention and fireworks, but I believe we are called together for a purpose that is God's and not our own.
Jesus tells another story about the kingdom of God. He wants us to understand that we can get busy and ignore the work God has for us, and we can ignore the pushing and prodding of God's spirit. We can live for ourselves, or for God and God's people, and we have this choice every day. We are here together, as a church and community dedicated as a whole to God's purpose. We are called to be dressed and ready for every task and celebration. God invites us here today, and everywhere to be ready for the work ahead and the constant in-breaking of God's reign, God's kingdom here on earth.
Prayer for General Convention
Gracious and loving Creator, you have called us together in your service and to serve the world. May we begin our work, mindful of the needs of others. May our words and actions always be gentle and inclusive. May we see those who sit on the sidelines, may we welcome those who have been shut out, and may we make room in our lives and hearts for the inspiration for God's spirit. May cost be second always to God's love and compassion, and may we be willing servants of Christ in this place. Amen