'The Wedding Feast'
11th October 2020
'focus on special feasts'
Our Bible readings for today focus
on special feasts offered to us by God.
God, speaking through his prophet Isaiah,
spreads before us a picture of the Kingdom
as a great feast;
he promises a rich feast for all people,
a banquet of fine wines and the best of meat,
he will swallow up death forever
and wipe away the tears from all faces.
Jesus takes up that imagery of a great feast
telling a story of guests
too busy to make themselves available
for a royal wedding (Matthew 22.1-14).
Now a wedding was a major event
in every family and a community,
something we still understand today.
Everyone important to the bride
and the groom would be included:
neighbours and business connections,
for a start.
But this was an extra special wedding -
it was a royal wedding.
You wouldn't want to miss it,
not only because a wedding is a special occasion,
but also because, in that time,
the favour of a king would have meant a lot
for your family or your business.
So why do all these people ignore
the invitation to what is certainly
the party of the year,
if not the party of a lifetime?
It's not only rude, it's foolish.
Proper guests are portrayed as refusing to come.
Not only that,
they seize, torture and murder
the servants sent out
to remind them of the party.
This is not a lesson about manners,
or even loving our neighbours -
and there is more mayhem to come;
The king sends his troops out to destroy
the ones who murdered his servants,
to burn their city.
Only then is the more general invitation offered.
God sent his prophets to bring his people,
the Jews back to him.
They were reviled and killed;
so God sent his Son, not just for the Jews
but to bring all people to him.
Jesus told this story about a wedding
to get us thinking about
how we respond to our invitation from God.
The invitation we are given
is truly awesome; Jesus says;
'Come, everyone whose burdens are heavy,
and I will give you rest.
If you believe in me you will never die
but have everlasting life.
If you remain in me;
I will remain in you
I will give you abundant life
I will never leave you
and I call you my friends.
At the end of your journey
I will provide a banquet
and you will be fed with food
that is not from this world,
and quench your thirst
with my everlasting fountain.
I will dry your tears;
there will be no more pain or sorrow.
I am preparing a mansion just for you.
Urge anyone you find to come,
so that my house will be full.'
Let us respond to this invitation.
Come to Jesus and lay our burdens at his feet,
we will find rest,
we will have abundant life
from one who will never leave us.
The invitation is open to all
and He will never go back on his word.
It is the most significant invitation
we will ever receive.
When the day comes and we are ready to go
he will not turn us away.
We will not be disappointed.
This isn't just for us,
'Urge anyone you find to come,'
the invitation is for all
and we are challenged
to go out and bring in others.
We're not living for some mythological future.
Today is the day to start behaving like
we know where we are and who we are,
God's beloved children.
The invitation is here,
marked by God's generosity
and Christ's glory.
Let's share in the banquet!