Podcast Reflections

Sermon for Trinity 18

Listen to or read a sermon by Revd Stephen for Trinity 18, Sunday 11 October 2020, on Matthew 22.1–14

We all know that weddings take a lot of planning, and that is where Jesus’ parable starts today.

A king had not only planned a wedding banquet for his son, but had also sent his servants out to shout the invitation from the rooftops.

This was not the sort of formal invitation we receive for weddings today … this was an invitation of joy.

But … those who heard the king’s invitation did not share in his joy … their response was one of rejection.

Those who had been invited to the king’s wedding banquet made light of their invitation, because they felt they had more important things to do.

But … therein lies the problem …

They were so consumed and driven by their tightly packed schedules that nothing was allowed to break through … not even the King, who is, of course, an allegory for God.

So often, we make the same mistake.

So often, we think the only real choice we have to face is between matters of good and evil.

Yes, those matters are extremely important … but … too often, our notion of what is good makes us fall short of becoming the best we might be … the best we are called to be by God himself!

At this time of the year, in the wake of harvest festivals, we often reflect on the issue of waste.

Today we are being asked to focus on a different type of waste … the waste of never reaching the potential that has been laid out for us by God.

Too often, we settle for the good, but we decline God’s invitation to the best.

No one is worthy of God’s invitation to share in his heavenly kingdom … but … we are invited, none the less.

God’s grace is not limited … we are all invited to say Yes to God’s invitation.

It is for us to make the time and the space in our trivial daily timetables …

in fact, it is as stark as this …

God’s invitation should not be stuffed in the back of our diaries, it should be taking absolute precedence over everything else in our lives!!!!

Of course, there is also a postscript to today’s gospel reading …

The king himself arrives at the banquet, greets his guests, and then notices that one of them is not dressed appropriately.

Being unable to provide an adequate explanation for this breach of etiquette, the king has him forcibly removed and thrown into outer darkness.

Needless to say (I hope) this is not about the dress code for weddings, rather it is about how we respond to God’s invitation.

God’s gracious invitation always comes to us as we are, but … we need to come to his table not as we were!!!

Grace is free, but it is not cheap.

Grace involves change … repentance … literally, turning around from our present way of living.

Those who think of themselves as being ‘insiders’ are always tempted to take God’s invitations lightly …

to assume that, once we are gathered at the table, we can stay exactly as we are.

We need to take extra special care that we do not turn into one of those who ‘presume’ upon God’s grace.

God’s invitation to his great heavenly banquet is not a right … it is a privilege!

Beware of the busy-ness of modern life, because when we are so absorbed in all that busy-ness we treat God’s invitation to the banquet with offhand disrespect.

We should not try to limit God by our choices … rather, we should be clearing our schedules in order that we might respond to God’s invitation in the fullness of joy and gratitude.

God has sent us a very special invitation.

Don’t delay in responding … remember how easily later can turn into never.

Come to the banquet …
God himself has prepared a place just for you!