Scripture: Matt 22: 1-14
Key verses: (1-3, 9-14) Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come.
9 Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10 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.
11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. 13 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.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Reflection: Parables invite us to sit with them and look at them from every angle. They invite us to ask questions of our lives, of the narratives that we have formed and of how we live together.
Amy Jill Levine, New Testament scholar at Vanderbilt says of parables that “If the interpretation does not raise for us more questions, if it does not open us up to more conversation, if it creates a neat and tidy picture, we need to go back and read it again.” This parable of the wedding banquet is anything but tidy and neat. We cannot conclude that God is an angry king who destroys his own people because it does not fit with the God revealed by Jesus in the rest of the gospels. The parable is outrageous and shocking.
I wonder if this is opposite of God’s intentions. The kingdom of heaven is not like our lives with judgement and systems that exclude because you are not perfect. What if God’s judgement is filled with grace and invitation not exclusion. We are called to just show up. It’s simple and it’s just as hard.
What caught my attention in the parable was the man who didn’t dress right for the party. The guest was speechless. There are times when we show up but we are not present. I wonder if he was not really there, on his phone or so future thinking that he couldn’t even hear someone having a conversation. I also wonder if the guest felt so out of place that they believed they didn’t have a voice.
Why didn’t anyone speak up for the guest? There were others in the room that could have stepped forward. Were they fully present or worried about themselves? I don’t know the answer for the parable but I know that I miss a lot of invitations because I am rushing through life. We have the chance during these virus days to slow down and show up.
Let’s show up to this life to which we are called, being fully present and committed to Jesus Christ.
Prayer: God, you call us to be in relationship with one another, to join together at the table and you promise to dwell wherever two or three are gathered. Nourish us at this table. Through the food we eat and the stories we share, fill our heart and soul. Open our hearts and eyes so that we might find the treasures of diversity among us. Help us boldly live out the adventure of hospitality. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].