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The kingdom: a feast open to all who will come

March 22, 2023

Daily Scripture

Luke 14:15-24

15 When one of the dinner guests heard Jesus’ remarks, he said to Jesus, “Happy are those who will feast in God’s kingdom.”
16 Jesus replied, “A certain man hosted a large dinner and invited many people. 17 When it was time for the dinner to begin, he sent his servant to tell the invited guests, ‘Come! The dinner is now ready.’ 18 One by one, they all began to make excuses. The first one told him, ‘I bought a farm and must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I bought five teams of oxen, and I’m going to check on them. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 When he returned, the servant reported these excuses to his master. The master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go quickly to the city’s streets, the busy ones and the side streets, and bring the poor, crippled, blind, and lame.’ 22 The servant said, ‘Master, your instructions have been followed and there is still room.’ 23 The master said to the servant, ‘Go to the highways and back alleys and urge people to come in so that my house will be filled. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will taste my dinner.’”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The prophet Isaiah had pictured God’s kingdom as a great feast, one anyone would surely be eager to take part in (cf. Isaiah 25:6-9). Yet Jesus’ told a parable in which the invited guests gave flimsy, obviously evasive excuses for not attending. That didn’t stop the feast. Shockingly, against all usual social protocol, the king threw open the doors and not just invited but “urged” even the town’s street people to come in and enjoy the royal banquet. No snobbish, exclusive party for God!

  • Pastor Bruce Larsen wrote, “I had a good excuse for not having a more regular quiet time… for Bible reading and prayer. I would pray, ‘Lord, I’m so busy. Help me simplify my schedule so I can put You first.’ One day He seemed to say, ‘Larson, you haven’t missed a meal in years.’” * In what areas are you giving God excuses? How will you lower your internal defenses so that you can be more honest with God and with yourself?
  • Jesus knew many “religious” people didn’t want to share God’s kingdom feast with “sinners” (i.e., “not as good as me”). His story wasn’t about “the awful people who aren’t like us.” We’re all spiritually “poor, crippled, blind and lame,” invited to God’s “feast” by grace. Can you see that you are a ragamuffin ** who must trust God’s grace and mercy? Are you open to inviting people of all kinds into God’s kingdom, even if at first you might feel a bit uncomfortable in their company?

Lord Jesus, you loved ragamuffin me enough to die for me, enough to promise to be with me every day. Guide me in the process of laying aside the rags of my pride to serve you and others every day in love and gratitude. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Shannon Starek

Shannon Starek

Shannon Starek serves as the Director of Discipleship at Resurrection Downtown. She loves to travel and has been to 49 states, 11 countries and lived in Vancouver, Canada for grad school! When not gallivanting all over the world, she lives in Liberty with her husband, Aaron, and two sons, Owen and Porter.

A reflection on the busyness we carry and how we might set it down…from The Lives We Actually Have by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie.

for this overwhelming day

God, I am trying to juggle too much, but I don’t know what else to do. Or who else will keep everything in the air, if not for me.

Blessed are we who say, Jesus, I’m taking you at your word. I am coming to you just as I am, burnt out, craving rest, but still tempted to keep going like I always do, propelled from one task to the next as if the earth spins because I do.

But I know, deep down, that this is unsustainable.

Blessed are we, quietly closing the door, willing to fold ourselves into this present moment.

Slow me down, God. Place your hand upon me and steady the racing of my heart. Take this weight from my shoulders, and pry these to-dos from my fingers. Deepen my breath and still my mind so that I can remember whose hands really do keep the stars hung in space.

I know by my body’s limits and the clock’s relentless ticking that not everything has to be done, and not everything has to be done by me.

Blessed am I, beginning to recognize that my edges as well as my gifts can shape the natural contours of what is mine to hold, and mine to do.

God will take care of all that you can’t, dear one. And you, too.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Bruce Larson, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 26: Luke. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Inc. 1983, p. 228-230.
** See Brennan Manning’s classic The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out. 1990/2000/2005: The Crown Publishing Group.