Summary: Proper 23 (A), 18th Sunday after Pentecost. We enter into the wedding feast of the Lamb when we believe His word of promise and come in faith, to praise and honor Him. Those who did not enter were centered on themselves instead of Christ.

J. J.

May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in Thy sight,

O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

“I Do”

“I do.” Two small little words with big impact. While they can be used on many occasions, we immediately associate them with weddings. Big or small, simple or elaborate, they are joyous, happy, lovely affairs. Not all weddings happen at church. Some happen at a courthouse. Others are in a garden setting with family and friends. And then there are the fairy-book weddings. Like the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981, or the wedding of Prince William and Princess Kate three years ago. A golden horse drawn carriage. St Paul’s cathedral and Westminster Abbey. These were the kinds of weddings little girls dream of. And they were royal weddings, in the truest sense of the word.

Jesus speaks in the Gospel today of a royal wedding. When the time for the wedding had come, the king sent messengers to his guests.

“Come to the banquet. Come, dine, drink, and eat.

Come celebrate, it all is my treat.

Come won’t you please, to the festivities.

My son’s love is true, they’ll soon say “I do.”

“I don’t,” was their answer.

“I don’t want to come. See what I’ve done.

I’ve a field to plow, so I can’t come now.

I’m busy, you see, your Majesty.”

Said one.

“ And my store is a-humming, I must keep it running.

Thanks anyway, some other day.”

Said another.

Despite their apathy and filmsy excuses, “Jimmy crack corn, ‘cause I don’t care,” the king was determined to have a good wedding for his son. He sent more messengers to ask them to come.

“Come to the banquet. Come, dine, drink, and eat.

Come celebrate, it all is my treat.

Come won’t you please, to the festivities.

My son’s love is true, they’ll soon say ‘I do.’”

“I don’t and I won’t. Did you hear what I said?

Don’t bother us now.”

And they killed them dead.

This was it. They’d reject him no more,

Their days were o'er. This was war.

The king leveled their cities, and rightly so.

Burned to the ground, for telling him “No.”

Still, the King wanted to have a good banquet for his son.

This wedding day would be number one.

He sent his servants to hill and to dale.

To young, and to old, to the ill and the pale.

“Come to the banquet. Come, dine, drink, and eat.

Come celebrate, it all is my treat.

Come won’t you please, to the festivities.”

The servants went out and rounded them up.

In the king’s hall, they all would sup.

The servants were busy, they filled every chair.

And the king went in, to see who was there.

“They’ve come to the banquet, the grandest one yet.

At last they have come, to honor my Son.”

And the king was quite pleased.

But when he surveyed the hall,

he saw there a man he did not know at all.

The king went to the man,

“My friend, I do say, how is it that you got in here today?”

The man had no answer. He was white as a ghost.

His party was over, he knew he was toast.

“Show this man out. Cast him into the fire.

To honor my son, he has no desire.

For he did not come in proper attire.”

And that is what happened that great wedding day.

The story is over, but we not quite yet through.

For this banquet is one for both me and you.

This banquet, each day, is still going on.

As more guests join in the Lamb’s triumph song.

What? Are we in this story? Well, let’s take a look.

There are three groups who come to a tragic end. First, the ones who refused to come: the “I don’ts.” They were preoccupied with daily life. Their fields and shops were more important to them then the king, his son, and this banquet. They couldn’t care less. Really. They did not care. Although the King tried and tried to get them to come, they keep themselves out of the banquet. They were preoccupied.

The next group were more than preoccupied. They were predatory. These were the “I won’ts.” The ones who killed the messengers. They were destroyed, and their city burned and torched.

For killing his messengers, we understand why the king would be more than a little upset, why they would end up in fire.

But what about the last one? The one without the proper wedding attire. When the king sees him, he is bound, and cast out into the fire. But why? He wasn’t preoccupied, he came to the banquet. And he wasn’t predatory, we don’t see him killing any one. Throwing him into a fire seems extreme, doesn’t it? I mean, the king was inviting everyone. Surely he would not think that everyone had wedding clothes?

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