the 19th sunday after pentecost
the PRAYER. . .
Lord of the feast, you have prepared a table before all peoples and poured out your life with abundance. Call us again to your banquet. Strengthen us by what is honorable, just, and pure, and transform us into a people of righteousness and peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
the READING. . .
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless.
the DEVOTION. . .
A king gives a wedding banquet for his son. He invites everyone. Everyone who’s anyone, that is. But no one comes. He extends the invitation, a second time. Still, no one. They have other things to do. So, he orders his servants to go out and bring in everyone – anyone – they can find. When all’s done and said, the wedding hall’s filled. With good and bad! With righteous and unrighteous! With sinners and saints!
Now for most people, that would, probably, be enough. It was for Luke when he told the same story. The lowly lifted up. The hungry filled. A place for all! Poor! Crippled! Blind! Lame! “The gospel of the Lord! Praise to you, O Christ!”
But for some reason, Matthew needs more. Four verses more. And rather than ending on a note of promise and hope, the story he tells withers into the usual gloom and doom. Outer darkness. Weeping. Gnashing of teeth. The stuff we’ve come to expect from him. Only thing missing, of course, is the fire. Unquenchable. Eternal. Instead of good news, we’re left with foreboding and fear. Many called… few chosen… Now, I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll just stick with the way Luke tells it! It’s not as exhausting…
Bob Barndt, pastor