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 three-year lectionary.
In Jesus’ parable of the wedding dinner we find a culture of disrespect. Matthew 22:1-14 depicts a king, who is a figure of God. He is having a wedding celebration. It is a big one. There have been multiple cattle prepared. This event had plenty of advance notice and preparation. The guests had certainly been notified, and the king, as courtesy, sends someone to collect the guests. Yet, disrespecting the generosity of the king, the guests refuse to come. He calls out to others, who also refuse to come. We can easily imagine in this the work of God calling his people Israel to himself in faith. He sent Moses, he sent the prophets, and the guests would not come. They ignored him, harmed the servants, and insulted the King.
Finally an assortment of people are gathered together. There’s a feast. It’s food fit for the table of a king. And we can easily imagine that some of those guests don’t look all that great. They are peasants, workers, homeless people, maybe some criminals, maybe even the odd IRS agent or sociology professor. Yet they have been invited and they have come.
God the king has prepared a feast, a feast of life, a feast of redemption. He calls people from every part of society, from every nation, from every background to come. All they have to do is show the respect due to a fancy occasion and come. In some families from my background, they would say you wear your best and make sure it is clean. It doesn’t matter if your best doesn’t look as new or fit as well as some other people’s. It is your best.
What happens to the person who disrespects the king at this point? Someone has come in without attempting to clean up. Although all the guests are certainly dressed differently, and although there are sure to be differences in what people have and can wear, there is someone present who is noticeably not in appropriate clothing. Really? You went to the king’s son’s wedding dinner and wore the t-shirt with a picture of the king’s opponent in the last war? The person is rejected out of hand.
When God calls people to receive his blessings, he calls them according to his rules. He calls them to approach him in trust, in sorrow for their wrong, in hope that he is who he says he is, expecting that he is the one who will redeem them from all their sorrows. He openly showsh imself to be the one true God. He doesn’t put up with substitutes. Do you want to come to his dinner? Come as he has invited you. He will take care of the rest.
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