Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
“I can’t come to your event, because I don’t want to.” True, this is not a way we would likely treat others. I am of a slightly older generation in my culture, one in which we might deal with invitations in a different way. When invited to something we don’t want to go to, we might go anyway, since it is a polite thing to do. We also might simply say, “No, thank you.” No explanation is really needed, we simply declined the invitation and won’t be going. People a generation younger than myself will, on the other hand, often not respond in any way to an invitation, then decide at the last minute whether they will come or not. Or they may do something I find very rude, accept the invitation and then decline it at the last minute because something else came up. We have all sorts of ways of deciding what our priorities are.
In the world of Christianity, great amounts of time and effort have been expended trying to figure out why more people from one group, fewer people from another, will attend an event. Do some activities reach different ages or demographics differently than others? These are, perhaps, valid questions to ask. However, they all miss the point of our Gospel reading from Luke 14:15-24. Jesus tells a parable about people who have been invited to a banquet. Apparently it is a big deal. When the servants try to get the banquet hall filled, they have to do a lot of recruiting.
The respondents didn’t want to go to the banquet. They all make excuses which are pretty lame. “Oh, I have some real estate I need to look at.” “I have some cattle I want to meet.” “I got married so I can’t do anything.” All are ridiculous excuses. They can’t come to the banquet because they don’t want to.
Jesus invites us to a banquet in his presence. He gives us his broken body and shed blood to eat and drink, distributing forgiveness and peace with God at the same time. He gives us a feast centered around His Word, which creates faith in our hearts and lets us see the goodness of God.
The feast spread by God is available to all who believe. Why do so many reject? They don’t want God to mess with them. Changing the message or the method of presentation won’t fix anything. We need to pray that God will change the hearts and minds of those we invite. Some might come simply because they are polite. But some will come and receive God’s banquet with joy.
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