GEC-Sermon-2017-10-15 - Pentecost 19

 
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Grace Episcopal Church Sheboygan, Wisconsin The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 23A) Isaiah 25.1-9 Psalm 23 Philippians 4.1-9 Matthew 22.1-14 May the Lord be in my mind, on my lips, and in my heart, that I may rightly and truly proclaim His holy Word. Amen. “[E]verything is ready.” Twice the king in Jesus’ parable of the banquet says that all is ready, and that the guests are to come. In other words, the guests are to come without delay; the invitation is urgent. And what do the guests do? Some go so far as to mistreat and kill the messengers. They rebel openly against the king and his authority. But others do not so rebel, they just treat the invitation as of no importance and certainly of no urgency. As phrased by Jesus “... they made light of it and went away ...” The result of rebellion and indifference is that some of those summoned are destroyed and others are invited, “both good and bad”, and one of those who now comes is found to be wanting. He is asked by the king, “[H]ow did you get in here without a wedding robe?” He has no reply, and is bound and thrown out, out into the “outer darkness” to weep. You don’t have to be a theological giant to figure this parable out, particularly when the lectionary helpfully pairs this gospel lesson with the description in Isaiah of the messianic banquet at which the saved rejoice in their salvation, and also with the famous 23rd psalm, which reminds us of the rich banquet that God spreads before us, that we may “... dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” The banquet is the kingdom of heaven to which we are called. The messengers are the prophets. The call is urgent. We are to respond to this call without delay, or suffer God’s wrath, a wrath described by Jesus in last week’s lesson as God taking away His reign from us to give it to others who will produce the fruits of the kingdom. You don’t have to be a theological giant to figure the parable out, but far more important than the question of what the parable means is the question, “What am I going to do to respond to God’s invitation?” “What am I going to do?” can, using Jesus’ imagery, be rephrased as “How do I get a wedding robe?” A wedding robe, which in the parable represents conversion of life—conversion of life, as in I am a sinner when invited, when called, and I must repent in order to be received as a guest at the banquet. “Many are called, but few are chosen.” “What am I going to do?” should really be thought of as “Who am I called to be?”, “How should I live?” Again and again in Scripture we are taught that how we are to live is defined by our relationship to God, our acceptance of ...

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