This week the Gospel Lesson was Luke 14:16-24 – the Parable of the Great Banquet. Between the reading and the accompanying HT Reflection in addition to comments that I’ve heard more and more often from those in the Church, I was reminded again that we have a real problem in the Church.
We reject the gifts of the Lord. We all do it. Sometimes, it’s in ways that seem well meaning. I saw a comment that looked like this recently, “We should sell our church buildings so that we can further the ministry in realistic and life changing ways.” I’m sure that it was a very well meaning comment. They want to get the Gospel out to the nations, but unfortunately it also denies the Lord’s gifts.
At other times, our excuses for rejecting the Lord’s gift aren’t all that great:
“I tired so I’m going to sleep in.”
“…but the football game is on!”
“I just bought land, I need to go work on it.”
“I’m on vacation.”
…and they go on and on and on.
Tending the mission field, sharing the Gospel, and defending the truth all seem like valid reasons to refuse the banquet. It certainly seems like your doing the Lord’s work all while rejecting the very gifts from which all other gifts flow.
C.S. Lewis once wrote “A man can’t be always defending the truth; there must be a time to feed on it.”
The master wishes His house to be full that all may join in the banquet with Him. Even what seem like good excuses to us are really no excuse at all. Mission work is great. Sharing the Gospel is awesome. But they do not give us an excuse to reject the Lord’s gifts. We need the gifts too. Go to church, our sanctuary from the changes and chances of life in this world. It is there that the Lord has invited you to partake in His banquet and has promised to give you His gifts. Hear the word. Receive the body and blood, forgiveness of sins, peace and everlasting life. The Lord loves to give to His people and from those gifts flow everything else.
While to some may see the gifts of God as mundane, you don’t get any more real or life changing than that.
For Your consoling supper, Lord,
Be praised throughout all ages!
Preserve it, for in ev’ry place
The world against it rages.
Grant that this sacrament may be
A blessed comfort unto me
When living and when dying.
-LSB 622 st. 8