Summary: A sermon for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost Taking care of the poor

14th Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 17

Lectionary 22

September 2nd

Luke 14:1, 7-14

"What Do you Do?"

"One sabbath when he went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching him." Luke 14:1, RSV.

"Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, "When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ’Give place to this man,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ’Friend, go up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." He said also to the man who had invited him, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just." Luke 14:7-14, RSV.

The following story is a paraphrase of a story written by the late Peter Marshall, the chaplain to the U.S. Senate, which appears in his book, "Keepers of the Springs."

"Suppose someone in the rich suburbs of Washington D.C. opened his Bible one night and came across this passage which is our gospel lesson this morning. As he reads this section of the Bible, the thought comes to him that Jesus was not only addressing this passage to the disciples in his day, but to his followers today. Suppose this man had the courage and the love of Jesus to take him at his word? What do you think might happen? The man closed his Bible and thought about the parties he had given in the past. His guests always included the Who’s Who in Washington" the best of business finance, clubs and politics were always included. They were not the poor nor the maimed or lame or blind. The man decided to put this thought out of his head so he went to bed.

But the next morning, the thought was even stronger’ so he made preparations for his great banquet. He went to his engrave and had the following card printed:"Jesus of Nazareth requests the honor of your presence at a banquet honoring the Sons of Want on Friday evening, in a home on Massachusetts Ave.Cars will await you at the Central Union Mission at 6:00.

When the invitations were completed, the man took them and walked walked downtown giving them out to the people in the area. Within the hour, all who had received a card had-gathered together talking about this kind man in well dressed clothes and what this invitation meant.

At 6:00 on that t Friday evening cars were walling at the Mission for the men. It was touching to see the lame get in, dragging one foot. Swinging up with a twitch of pain, and to see the blind man fumbling for the strap to help him slide into the great car. They arrived at the great mansion, where the host greeted each guest with a "I am so glad that you came." He seated them around the fine table, offered a prayer, and the food began to come. The host sat back and watched these men whom he did not even know, eat and how he marveled at their hunger. The host noticed how different the conversation was at this party. No off-colored stories, no whisperings of scandals but these men were talking about their friends in misfortune wondering how they were doing. After dinner, there was music at the great piano, with the men joining in on the familiar tunes.

Following the music, the host told the men that he knew they were wondering what this all meant. So he read to them our gospel lesson, and then said. " Now I haven’t done much tonight for you, it has made me very happy to have you here in my home.

I hope you have enjoyed it half as much as I have. If I have given you one evening of happiness, I shall be forever glad to remember it, and you are under no obligation to me. This is not my party. It is His! I have merely lent Him my house. He was your Host. He is your Friend. And he has given me the honor of speaking for him. He wants you all to have a good time. He is sad when you are. He hurts when you do. He weeps when you weep. He wants to help you, if you will let Him. After his speech, the host gave each man a Bible and escorted them back to the cars.

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