Invitations & Expectations
|Homemade chicken pot pie. A dinner invitation I can’t refuse. I rearrange my schedule. Anticipation carries me through the day. I text my family members, “Hope you can make it!” Comfort food. All we have to do is respond. Show up.|
“Happy are those who will feast in God’s kingdom.” Luke 14:15b (CEB)
Jesus didn’t say this. Jesus countered with a story about a large dinner with many invited guests. Hm. I don’t know if I want to go to a big party. With a bunch of people I don’t know. Do I have to dress up? It’s been on my calendar for months, but now I don’t really wanna go. Frankly, I have a lot on my plate. Life has been crazy busy lately.
“Please excuse me.” said each invited guest. One by one, they all began to make excuses. Lk 14:18 (CEB)
Why? Why do we think we don’t want to go? Like many young children, we believe that our current location is more fun than whatever could come next. We struggle with transitions. We forget that we like being with friends. That we enjoy parties once we get there. We have so many good things. We don’t trust the possibility of more.
When he returned, the servant reported these excuses to his master. The master of the house became angry…. Luke 14:21a (CEB)
My first response rejects this image of an angry God. I do not experience God this way. Angry characterizations of God have misled and abused people. So I turned this verse over in my mind, examining it, and discovered desire. Yes. Desire. God’s desire.
God desires our presence. God passionately wants us. To accept this invitation to feast. God pursues us. Prepares for us. Good things! Celebration and bounty and comfort food. But our expectations get in the way. Our fears of the unknown. Our lack of trust in the goodness of our host- their ability to cook and bake and pour good wine.
I recall times when I invited someone to something fun. And they hesitated. When I tried to convince them that it will be great. And how it hurts to be refused. When you’ve put yourself out there, prepared something. When you’ve chosen someone as your desired guest, and they make excuses.
Can we imagine God’s feelings being hurt? Can we imagine God being disappointed? When we don’t show up. When we make excuses. Can we imagine God desiring us? Our presence at the table. But God doesn’t force us. God keeps inviting more and more. People who perhaps didn’t hear the original call. Who haven’t prepared a refusal.
‘Go quickly to the city’s streets, the busy ones and the side streets, and bring the poor, crippled, blind, and lame…. Go to the highways and back alleys and urge people to come in so that my house will be filled.’ Luke 14: 21,23 (CEB)
God wants a full house. The feast is prepared. We are invited. Plus many more who might not have known the first invitation. Do we feel God’s desire? For us. For our presence. Or do we only anticipate anger?
Comfort food. Glasses filled to the brim. All we have to do is respond. Show up. May we lay aside our excuses and let ourselves be fed.
Order of service: 11/3
Sermon: Jesus. God’s First Completed Human (Hebrews)