Luke 14:1, 7-14 (online here)
Jesus seems concerned with how we use what ought to be celebrations as opportunities for advancement.
Don’t do that, he says.
When you’re a guest at a great banquet, don’t use the invitation you get as a way to advance yourself.
And the same applies when you’re the host, don’t use the invitations you give as ways to advance yourself.
If you’re the host, start with inviting the people who could really use an invitation to a banquet, people who hardly ever get invitations.
And again if you’re a guest, stand with these people. Then you and they together will all be honored guests at the feast God has prepared for everyone.
Why? Because this is what God is doing—inviting everyone, especially those who hardly ever get invitations, to a banquet.
At every Eucharist, Christ is the host who invites us to a great banquet, the same banquet God has prepared for everyone, especially those of us who hardly ever get invitations. And you are an honored guest simply because you’re invited.
If we let this meal do its work on us, we ourselves will be transformed from guest to host, moving out to welcome and honor people who don’t usually get invitations.
That’s a message easy to take to heart when your faith community struggles to find enough members to justify keeping the doors open. Then you’re glad to see practically anybody who shows up, regardless of how eccentric they might be. This faith community, All Saints, has gone through times like these. They gave us insights we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise about putting the “all” in All Saints.
Nowadays we’re not struggling so much, not like that. True, we are in no danger of becoming a megachurch, but we’re not really wondering if All Saints will even be here in the next decade or so. And that’s when it can be very tempting to forget those insights we had been given.
I don’t think we’ve forgotten. When we hear one another’s stories, often as not not we still hear how one of us found a welcome here beyond all expectation. So we haven’t forgotten. But still, it’s tempting to forget.
So let’s open ourselves to let this meal do its work on us, transforming us from guest to host, moving out to welcome and honor people who don’t usually get invitations.