Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 22, 2020
The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. Matthew 22:2 (NRSV)
What comes to mind when you think about the kingdom of heaven? If I’m honest, for most of my life I thought of disembodied angelic spirits floating on clouds, or a church service that lasted for eternity, neither of which sounded all that compelling! However, thankfully our Lord in Scripture gives us an image that we can all immediately relate to: heaven is like a feast!
In many ways, it is easy to get our heads around the idea of feasting. Yet in other ways, the heart of this passage is elusive and evasive. Why? Because we live in a culture of excessive consumption in which feasting is neither unique or special. As an American, I know this all too well. In fact, my country is famous around the world for our portions and “super-sized” culture! When you and I accept gluttony as our default rhythm, we will never truly know what it is like to feast.
In the ancient world, a feast was a rare occurrence, something longed for and aspired to as a beacon of joy and delight in the midst of a dark and difficult existence. It is this type of feast that Jesus speaks of, telling a story of a feast to end all feasts! And we must not miss the fact that this is a wedding feast, one in which we are reminded of the tender compassion and intimacy of God. As St. John Chrysostom said in a sermon on this passage, it is a marriage feast in order “for us to learn God’s tender care, His yearning towards us, the cheerfulness of the state of things, that there is nothing sorrowful there, nor sad, but all things are full of spiritual joy.” In short, a wedding feast at the table of the Lord is where all joy and happiness is to be found, and you and I would be crazy to miss it, right?
“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
Though our Lord sets a table before us, he does not force us to dine with him. Though he shines the light of his love into our hearts and lives, the sickness of sin can blind us to what is good and true and we dismiss the invitation to feast with the King, preferring instead to tend to our own interests and desires, assuming them to be far worthier of our time, attention, and devotion.
For love to truly be love, it cannot be coerced or forced upon us. It is a free response and we are free to respond or reject that love. Our king loves us and invites us to the wedding feast. Will you accept his invitation?
Father, thank you for your lavish love and goodness towards us. May we respond with faithful hearts and obedient lives, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What does it look like for you in this season to respond in love to the Lord’s invitation to feast with him?
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For love to truly be love, it cannot be coerced or forced upon us. It is a free response and we are free to respond or reject that love. #WisdomHunters #love #Jesus
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