This past Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, we had Jesus’ parable of The Wedding Banquet, as Jesus is in the temple with the chief priest, elders, the Pharisees and the disciples found in Matthew 22:1-14. Here Jesus shares the story of a king who had a son who got married, and he invited people to the wedding banquet. They make light of the invitation and don’t go, and some go and kill the slaves who gave them the invitation. After the king has taken care of the murderers, he sends the slaves out again, but to invite everyone in the streets the “good and bad” to the wedding banquet, so the place is packed full. Then in Matthew’s Gospel, the king notices a man without wearing a wedding robe and throws him out into the outer darkness. This addition in Jesus’ parable brings many questions, wondering if God’s grace is for everyone including the “good and bad,” why not this man who isn’t wearing a wedding robe? Some thought is that this man wasn’t prepared and ready for the wedding banquet and all that he would receive there, because God’s grace is for everyone including the “good and bad!”
As with all of Jesus’ parables, I ask what particular character in The Wedding Banquet do you best relate to, the king/queen, those invited who don’t go, the slaves, the man without the wedding robe, and those from the streets who are good and bad? I encourage all of us who are the slaves (and that should be all of us), that we need to share with everyone the invitation for the “wedding banquet” that is found when we come together for God’s Word and the sacrament of Holy Communion and all of what we receive from that banquet in praise and worship. I encourage us as the man without the wedding robe, to prepare ourselves for all that we can receive whenever we are invited by Jesus to love and serve our Savior in whatever way. I encourage us who are from the streets who are the good and bad (and again that is all of us) to give thanks and praise and live in the free grace our God has given to us through our Savior Jesus. Finally, I encourage all of us to be open to Jesus’ invitation to love and to serve our Savior, where there will be many surprises and blessings!
Last week, we received an invitation from the Lutheran Youth Encounter to house five people who were passing through Louisville. We accepted the invitation and prepared for their coming on Friday night. As several of our youth, parents, and the five people were eating spaghetti, we finally asked the question of what they were doing, to learn that they are part of Captive Free, a Lutheran singing group who sings at National Youth Gatherings, Youth Events, Synod Assemblies, and Christian worship services. After dessert of ice cream and cookies, we who were surprised who we were eating with, would be blessed as we had a Captive Free concert with everyone who was there. What happened Friday, so confirmed how we need to accept the invitations that Jesus gives to us to love and serve our Savior and then be ready for the surprises and the blessings that will come!