Summertime Storytime

Published July 2, 2014 by

Parable of the Wedding Feastfeast

Save the Date  notifies friends, family and associates that an important event has been scheduled so they can set aside time in their busy schedules.  A large wedding or feast requires a great deal of planning, preparation and expense.  To suddenly refuse at the last moment is rude and inexcusable. To kill the messenger is so far over the top it’s inconceivable, unless it foreshadows the killing of Jesus. If that is the case, then the king’s response to the killing of his servant in the parable foreshadows the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans which follows the Crucifixion in 70 C.E .  The setting for this parable is the final week of Jesus’ life.  He is speaking in the Temple not only to His followers, but to the elders and priests, who seek His arrest on heresy charges.*  Only their fear of the multitudes which follow Jesus prevent direct and immediate action against Him.  With so little time left, Jesus has become even more direct in His attacks against them, challenging them to recognize and accept God’s call.

The Pharisees, the scribes and the elders resist change with a vengeance!  Their lives, their faith and their power are vested in the Temple under Roman rule and practicing the letter of the law.  To set aside the traditions and rigid laws upon which they have built their lives is frightening.  How could they even think of admitting that they were wrong and misguided, at best, if not down right mercenary in their actions?!

What kind of world is it in which a Samaritan–a heretic and impure person–can be ‘good,’ indeed be the hero of the story?  What kind of world is it in which a Pharisee–typically viewed as righteous and pure–can be pronounced unrighteous and an outcast can be accepted? What kind of a world is it  in which riding a donkey can be a symbol of kingship, in which purity is a matter of the heart and not of external boundaries, in which the poor are blessed, the first are last and the last first, the humble exalted and the exalted humbled?**

The Priestly caste chose to view Jesus as a false prophet, one who had the audacity to threaten the status quo!  Worse yet, He spoke with authority, performed miracles, ignored the letter of the law and attracted multitudes who hung upon His every word as if He were God, come down to earth to walk among them!  No wonder the priests and elders sought to discredit and destroy Him!!

The Parable of the Wedding Feast begins with the king’s servants sent out to call those who were invited to the wedding; but  they were not willing to come.***  The king sent his servants out again to describe the wonderful food already prepared and waiting for them.  But this time, not only did they refuse to come, but they also killed the king’s servant.  The king retaliated by sending his army against them, killing them and burning their village to the ground.

Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’***

All those whom the priests exclude from their Temple worship as outcasts, irreligious and impure are welcomed into the king’s banquet as honored guests–even the gentiles, for the kingdom of heaven is all inclusive to those who are open and willing to answer the call.

Metaphysically and symbolically, the feast is an invitation to come up higher, to be transformed by the love of God.  The king who issues the invitation represents God, even as His servant is Jesus.  Those who were invited from the beginning represent the unreceptive, the arrogant and disdainful who ought to have known better.  Those Jews and gentiles who did enter into the kingdom were over-joyed and eager to learn a new way of living, of being, in the Father’s house. They seized hold of their divine potential and celebrated the union of body, mind and spirit.****

Those who were invited to the dinner and have refused to respond to the servant’s summons will find no place at the Father’s banquet; their places will be taken by others brought in from outside, and they will be excluded only because they have excluded themselves.*****

Rev. Claudia Naylor

Luke’s version is set outside the city at a Pharisee’s Sabbath dinner.*

Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Borg**

Matthew 22:3, 8-9***

Revealing Word, Fillmore

The Gospel According to Luke X-XXIV, commentary by Fitzmyer quoting from The Gospel of Thomas*****

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