It is that time of year….when the weather turns, the fall leave-pick-up begins, and I cozy down with my Thanksgiving recipies and try to decide what I am going to cook this year.
Interestingly enough, those thoughts followed me into the morning. The parable of the great banquet is told today in Luke’s reading. It is preceded by a repeated theme of Jesus: “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you….”
I immediately thought of our Thanksgiving dinners. Often a time for friends and relatives, what would Thanksgiving look like if we all invited the poor, the crippled, and the lame? Jesus is making a point about the poor. He is certainly not suggesting one should never eat with friends. He ate with his disciples all the time. But he also ate with the poor.
But I think Jesus wants more than for us to eat with the poor. Remember the law. Remember the cleanliness code of the time. For this time, Jesus is really speaking out of turn. This is a clear violation of much of scripture to be eating with those who are unclean. Really Jesus??? The lame? The blind? The crippled? Ritually unclean! You have got to be kidding, Jesus!
Jesus is saying something radical here. He is saying, “Go ahead and eat with them. In fact, you must eat with these people. And eating with these people immediately restricts you from Temple worship. But no matter. A banquet with the poor is more important than that.”
Yikes. No wonder Jesus gets in trouble so quickly. What a radical concept. Radical love. Radical inclusion. The cost of discipleship seems to be a bit high. And yet Jesus invites us into this life. He requires it. This is what is meant by the stewardship of our lives.
What a glorious banquet invitation this is, for he too invites us to a meal of which we are unworthy. I’ll meet you there!
BTW, I hope you will join us the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, 5:30 dinner. 6:30 worship. It is always a feast!