One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” And they could not reply to these things.
Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:1-11
My favorite place to sit is in the sand. It molds to one's body and if you are sitting in the sand you are most likely to be next to the water. When summer comes at the shore, people jockey to get the best spots, bringing tons of equipment and entertainment. They hustle their families to rise up early just to get a good spot. There is so much to see and do at the ocean that nothing really has to be brought, but people struggle and jostle to get the best seats.
Jesus was invited to a prominent household for a big event. They were watching him closely hoping to find him wanting in their eyes. Instead he taught them about compassion and humility. We often, as human beings, struggle so much to get things right, to get the best spot, the best job, the right pew - that we forget to see who is around us. We are invited by God to stop worrying about getting it "right" and start being open to the needs around us. What is right will become clear as we soften our hearts and open our arms.
Today I ask God to help me soften my heart and to be open to the needs around me. May we use the gifts we have been given to bring others to a warm and inviting place at the table. May we use our skills and energy for spreading love and inclusion where ever we might be. And may we be humble enough to make room for God.