Jasper Johns (American, b. 1930). Numbers in Color, 1958–59.
Encaustic and newspaper on canvas. 66 1/2 x49 1/2 in. ( 168.9 x 125.7 cm).
Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1959. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.
For Sunday, October 9th, 2011
“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepares a wedding banquet for his son.” This is how Jesus begins his third in a series of three parables (a story with a point) in Matthew chapters 21 and 22. If you are interested in understanding who wins and who loses in the divine economy you might want to pay attention.
The ones who win are those who show up for the banquet properly attired. They realize their blessing in having received an invitation and have done their best to honor the blessing by putting their best foot forward.
The ones who lose are those who either ignore the invitation or treat it lightly. Many ignore the invitation because they have a career to attend to or a business to build. Others show up for the party but their heart just isn’t in it. They might be bothered to come but there is no gratitude.
Because each of us are loved by God we’ve received an invitation to the party. Yet because each of us are also profoundly broken we’re not going to make the event without God’s sovereign grace carrying us there. This is the point of the parable’s final words: “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
So then what might we take away from all of this? First, let’s remember that living an authentic Christian life is not drudgery: rather, it’s like attending a wedding feast. Weddings are great occasions to set aside mundane concerns for the joy of the moment. This is the invitation our Father extends to us and longs for us to extend to those around us.
Second, let’s put on our wedding clothes before showing up at the party. There is no room in the divine economy for posers. Is there something hindering your ability to enjoy this? Take it to your Heavenly Father and a trusted brother or sister in the faith, confess, repent, and receive the forgiveness, grace and freedom you need to enjoy your host and the moment fully and completely.
Third, let’s remember that the only reason we are here is the grace of God. We aren’t here because we are the few who put it all together: we are here solely because God carried us here in his sovereign grace.