Everyone Invited

Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet. But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet." Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests." Matthew 22: 1-10 (NRSV)

John Sawyer, from South Carolina, relates how their six-year-old granddaughter, Ellis Anne, was being taught by her parents that playdates are by invitation and require parental approval. When the grandparents made their 259-mile trip to visit, Ellis Anne greeted them with the question, "Were you guys invited?" Grand explained that they were invited, and they were family.

The Gospels tell us that Jesus was often invited to the homes of others for meals, weddings, and parties and to visit the sick and dying. Many of his parables are about invitations to banquets and parties. The Gospel of Luke is full of examples, and we also see banquets in the story of the Last Supper and the post-resurrection meals in the Gospel of John.

When we look at the Gospels and think about Ellis Anne's question, we can see that EVERYONE is invited to come to God's table. That is good news. All are God's children, and God's desire is for ALL to come to the banquet - life in fellowship with all of God's children and God's creation. As servants of God, we have the privilege and the commission to tell everyone to come and share in fellowship as God's family - good and bad.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to share Your love through our words and deeds. May we show ALL your children that they are invited to live in fellowship, in Jesus' name, amen.

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