Reader: “Let us rejoice”
Response: “in the salvation he brings!”
Scripture: Isaiah 25:6-9; Luke 14:12-14
In Jerusalem, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will spread a wonderful feast
for all the people of the world.
It will be a delicious banquet
with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat.
There he will remove the cloud of gloom,
the shadow of death that hangs over the earth.
He will swallow up death forever!
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears.
He will remove forever all insults and mockery
against his land and people.
The Lord has spoken!
In that day the people will proclaim,
“This is our God!
We trusted in him, and he saved us!
This is the Lord, in whom we trusted.
Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”
Then [Jesus] turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
I mentioned yesterday a little difficulty I have in grasping the reality of being part of God’s family. I understand the words, the concepts, the promises, the theology, the context and so forth, but it is still a wonder to me. Then today we run into these two passages that are tied quite closely together with an image and example that Jesus used very frequently in his ministry, eating meals with all kinds of people, including the wedding banquet. Have you ever wondered why he chose eating together as his teaching illustration? Think of all the kinds of people involved in meals in the Bible.
The very first meal involved sinners! But there was Abram and Sarai sharing a meal with the three visitors, one of whom was God in a theophany. We have the examples of: Joseph’s unique meal with his brothers, seated at the table in birth order prior to his revealing his identity to his brothers, Elijah being fed by ravens, Jesus eating at the home of Zaccheus, Jesus feeding the 5,000, Jesus gettting ready to eat with the two people from Emmaus, and Jesus eating fish with the disciples after his resurrection. In each of these examples and in the dozens more in Scripture, God’s hand is in the midst of the meal. What is of note is the nature of the people sharing meals. The guests at the table were there not because of who they were, but because of who they weren’t. The proud, the arrogant, the pompous, the famous were not to be found present. The humble, the meek, the lowly of heart, the devoted, the faithful, the poor in spirit were there. In these passages, Scripture is so clear that all peoples, regardless of who they are, are invited to come to the feast of God’s Kingdom, the Messianic banquet, the Wedding feast of the Lamb. In the eucharist, we commune with our Savior. Isaiah described, in what you read, this heavenly banquet yet to be, a banquet to which we’ve been invited.
Music: “Let Us Break Bread Together” Jessye Norman
O Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is truth and life, let Thy presence abide in us, that seeking Thy truth we may find Thee, and sharing Thy life, may dwell together in perfect fellowship, and may be found faithful servants of Thee, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be glory and praise, now and forever. Amen. ―Anonymous