Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dinner Guests

Each week in our parish staff meeting, we read the gospel for the upcoming Sunday. Although we don’t spent a lot of time talking about it, that practice does put us all on the same page as we approach Sunday. Children’s church, Sunday school, publications, EYC, financial work—it’s good for everything we do to be grounded in the gospel.

This week, as we read Luke 14:1, 7-14, someone invited us to think about a party at which “the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind” were the dinner guests. What would that party look like? Several others chimed in. How often do we spend money entertaining rich people? What would it mean to throw a lavish event for the marginalized? Is such a feast depicted in art?

I’d guess that homeless people in the first century were a lot like homeless people today, which means that the feast Jesus is calling for would have sounded just as strange to his hearers as it does to us. Fairly often, a homeless person will come into the church office seeking financial assistance. Occasionally, the inability of that person to engage in common hygiene practices means that he or she will stink. And sometimes that smell lingers in my office for a few hours after he or she departs. It is unpleasant. It is offensive. It is a good reminder to me of what heaven might smell like.

Jesus’ words aren’t just a demonstrative tactic. He isn’t speaking in hyperbole. He expects us to do what he says. If you invite the rich, they might invite you back, so invite the poor so that your reward might be at the resurrection. And what will that reward be? That when the poor, homeless people are seated at the heavenly banquet they might save a place at the table for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment