Lent 2009 (32) – The Kingdom is a party

When one of those who sat at table with him heard this, he said to him, “blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him “A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, “Come for all is now ready” But they all alike began to make excuses… And the master said to the servant, “Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet”.
Luke 14:15-18a, 23, 24

The Bible has a recurring picture of the day when God would give a great feast to his people. It is this banquet that the man who spoke to Jesus was thinking about.

When the man spoke about the happiness of the guests invited to the banquet he was thinking about the elite. In his eyes they were the IN crowd. It would never occur to him that sinners of all kinds would find a place at God’s feast. This is why Jesus told this story.

When God invites people to his feast the elite tragically refuse their invitations. It is the poor from the streets and those gathered from the roads and the hedges who respond positively.

For Jesus, the Kingdom is symbolised by a feast, a banquet.The Kingdom of God is a party!

We have an open invitation to the feast. But this passage challenges us to think about how we value that invitation and about how we relate to the other guests. Is it a celebration for the IN crowd or is it a celebration to which the marginalized and excluded are welcomed?

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