Daily Devotion 27 February 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Luke 14:15-24 ‘A Joy-Filled Banquet for All’ (CEV)

15 After Jesus had finished speaking, one of the guests said, “The greatest blessing of all is to be at the banquet in God’s kingdom!” 16 Jesus told him: A man once gave a great banquet and invited a lot of guests. 17 When the banquet was ready, he sent a servant to tell the guests, “Everything is ready! Please come.” 18 One guest after another started making excuses. The first one said, “I bought some land, and I’ve got to look it over. Please excuse me.” 19 Another guest said, “I bought five teams of oxen, and I need to try them out. Please excuse me.” 20 Still another guest said, “I have just got married, and I can’t be there.” 21 The servant told his master what happened, and the master became so angry that he said, “Go as fast as you can to every street and alley in town! Bring in everyone who is poor or crippled or blind or lame.” 22 When the servant returned, he said, “Master, I’ve done what you told me, and there is still plenty of room for more people.” 23 His master then told him, “Go out along the back roads and fence rows and make people come in, so that my house will be full. 24 Not one of the guests I first invited will get even a bite of my food!”

A club we once belonged to held a dinner for members at a hotel in the town. At the reception beforehand across the room we saw a couple we’d never set eyes on before and we asked some friends who they were but they didn’t know either, “Must be new to the club,” we agreed. Came the moment when dinner was announced and the couple in question looked at each other and burst out laughing. “No wonder we didn’t recognize anyone,” they said, “we’re here for a friend’s cocktail party, not a dinner. We must be in the wrong place!”.

Feasts and parties feature often in the gospels. Everywhere Jesus went, he was ready to celebrate and many of his parables are about feasts and parties too. Why? At the heart of Jesus’ ministry was the message that the kingdom of God is already here and it is to be celebrated. Jesus wanted to share the news with everyone. We’ve probably all experienced moments when we know that we’ve been in God’s presence, that we’ve spent a moment in God’s space, in the kingdom of God here and now. And those moments are precious and blessed. I remember one in particular in hospital after a close friend had just died, a moment which seemed full of joy, of music and love and laughter. I was so uplifted I could have danced the length of the ward – it was truly a ‘kingdom moment’. I wonder how many stay away from the kingdom of God because they don’t realize that it is supposed to be a party. It’s not a celebration that denies the difficulties of life, but it is a celebration that brings meaning within those difficulties.

In the parable above, the ‘worthy’ people all have better things to do than to attend the banquet. Jesus says if we think property, work, and marriage are important, he has got something even better for us. He came proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is here and now. The table is ready and every one of us is invited to join in the kingdom party – no-one is in the wrong place! The question is, are we ready to respond?

Prayer:

Father in heaven,
when the troubles of this world
cause discouragement,
help us to look toward the heavenly banquet
you have prepared for us
and be ready to respond. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2021 Ann Caffyn.
Image freely available online.

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