Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity – Sermon 247

17th Sunday after Trinity

10am Holy Communion CW

12th October 2014

Bible References :

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Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ

 

AMEN

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Hello? [Mobile phone against the ear]

 

It’s the King’s servant here!

 

He’s organized a big wedding party for His Son on the 23rd of next month – can you come?

 

No? Oh! You’re estate agent is coming- you’ve just bought a field – got to go and see it? – Oh! OK – I’ll tell him.

 

Hello?

 

It’s the King’s servant here!

He’s organized a big bash for his Son on the 23rd– it’s his wedding – can you come?

 

Oh! It’s your stockbroker? Got to sell your shares – OK, I’ll tell him.

 

Hello!

 

What – too busy to speak – going to IKEA with your wife?  Don’t bother ringing again? – Oh!

 

No matter what the excuse – when we let somebody down – it’s always a blow to the person on the receiving end

 

In our Gospel reading – Jesus reminds us that when we let God down – and relegate Him to second place in our diaries – the consequences can be severe.

 

Point 1

 

Royal Weddings are spectacular affairs – the sort of event that no one would want to miss – seeing –   or being part of –

 

A chance for those who know the bride and groom and their families – to mix with – the ruling hierarchy – and perhaps to meet or speak to the king – or in our case the queen –

 

But in Jesus’ parable all the inner circle of guests – who had been invited – had refused the invitation

 

Israel’s leaders in Jesus’ day – and the many Jews  who followed them – were like guests invited to a wedding party – and it was a party for which they had long been waiting for –

 

In our OT reading Isaiah tells of a great feast – that would be available to Israel – in the celebration of the coming of the Messiah –

 

Food of the finest quality – to sustain us – the finest wines – to drink – a meal to set us apart from the everyday demands of life –

 

Food to help us overcome our blindness and fears – to wipe away tears from every face – even death the universal swallower – will be swallowed up forever –

 

In God’s banquet – there will be joy for all –

 

And – as we now- know – this great nourishment and saving grace – is provided for us – through His Son Jesus – the great liberator of mankind –

 

Jesus is the food that God offers us at His Table –

who through His words and actions has changed our understanding of God –  and of ourselves –

 

But now the Messiah was here – the chief priest and Pharisees didn’t want to know –

 

They had abused and killed the prophets – who had tried to tell them about it – and the result was that their city Jerusalem – would be destroyed –

 

Their refusal would be a huge disappointment to the father and to the groom – that they had not done their utmost to attend –

 

But what was bad news for them – was good news for the people who weren’t originally invited –

 

and these people came in droves –

Because of their reaction – God was sending out messages – to the wrong parts of town – to tell everyone and anyone to come to the party –

 

We don’t have to look too far in the Gospel – to see who they were – the tax collectors – prostitutes – the blind and lame – the nobodies of society – people who thought they had been forgotten –

 

They were thrilled that God’s message was for them – after all –

 

Second Point

 

But just turning up to the party is not enough –

 

The end of the parable tells – the story of what happened to one of the guests who was not wearing the right clothes –

 

In Jesus’ time when people came to meet the king – they were given clothes to wear – they had to put on the right clothes – before they were allowed to go in to see him –

 

We can only assume that the man refused to put them on – and therefore showed disrespect to the king

 

Jesus tells that at God’s wedding Feast  – even though everyone is invited  – and the invitation is open – and free – attending requires us to show – honour to Him and his Son – by wearing His robes of righteousness

 

For God these robes of righteousness are – love, justice, mercy, truth – holiness –

 

And if we refuse to put on these Godly garments – we are effectively saying – we don’t want to stay at the party –

 

We all like to believe that we are alright – as we are – that to join God’s party we just need to be ourselves – come to church – join in the worship – meet with other Christians –

 

But Jesus tells us that– to just attend – is not enough – we also need to change – to clothe ourselves with the clothes that God provides for us

 

Paul in his letter to the Philippians lists some of them: gentleness – prayerfulness – being thankful – faithfulness – showing honour towards God – by doing the things that we have learned and received from Jesus  –

 

To leave our own clothes on – shows that we trust in ourselves – and not in Jesus

To put on God’s clothes shows that we honour Him –

 

it also tells others – that we are God’s invited people –  and that the blessings God brings are worthy of a great celebration –

 

Point 3        what does it mean for us

 

Paul urges us all to ‘celebrate in the Lord’ – and to accept God’s invitation – given through Jesus Christ –

 

To listen and follow Jesus’ teachings – put on the things that he offers us – and make Him the standard that we follow –

 

Yes everybody’s welcome – but it’s not all inclusive –

 

moral choices matter – we should not – just – assume that things will be – alright in the end  – we need to make a positive response to the love that God sows within us all

 

God loves everybody – good and bad – and He wants everybody to learn from Jesus – and to come to His great celebration

 

ending

 

God has prepared a Spiritual Feast for all those who want to join Him –

 

A meal of a lifetime – to transform our lives – and provide us with eternal salvation –

 

the invitations have been sent out and all are welcome – but it’s up to us whether we give it the priority it deserves –

 

Are we hungry enough for His word – hungry enough to come and sit at His table and eat –

 

When the call comes – Let there be no doubt as to how we will respond – and whose clothes we will wear!

 

Closing prayer

 

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

 

Amen