RSVP

Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. AmenRépondez s’il vous plait. How’s my French? Not too bad huh? Maybe not.You know this phrase by the shortened version of it, RSVP.  It literally means “please respond.”

Matthew 22:1-10

Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. Amen

Répondez s’il vous plait.

How’s my French? Not too bad huh? Maybe not.

You know this phrase by the shortened version of it, RSVP.  It literally means “please respond.”

When you receive an invitation how to you treat it?

  • Do you get excited?
  • Do you wonder why you received it?
  • Does it feel like one more thing added to your busy schedule?
  • What does an invitation mean to you?

I think when you receive an invitation to an event it means your presence is important to the person or persons who are sending you the invitation. I think it says there is a relationship that carries meaning and purpose. The sender of the invitation is interested in you and is saying that you are needed in order to make the celebration whole and complete.

You are important to that person and they want you there to share in a celebration that is so special it requires community and can’t be celebrated in isolation.

What goes through your mind and heart when you receive an invitation that is asking you to RSVP – to please respond?

And what if the invitation is from God? How do you treat that invitation?

Consider today’s kingdom of heaven parable.

Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come.

Such a strange response to an important invitation. They would not come. We don’t know why at first.

But the King doesn’t give up on those invited.

The King tried again only this time the invitation is even more personal.

Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’

This is going to be a party of abundance. A feast of such magnitude that the only thing the invited guests need to do is show up and share in the feast.

 But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them.

This is where the parable gets weird. We typically don’t treat invitations this way nor do we receive this kind of judgment when we treat them this way.

The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

Remember, there is a lot of hyperbole used in these kingdom of heaven parables we have been hearing the last three weeks.

Setting aside the strange violence in this parable I am encouraged and filled with hope over the king’s relentless desire to fill the wedding hall. To make sure and gather all whom they found, both good and bad.

Maybe the king realized that he had to go out into the streets and find the good and the bad in order to fill the hall. Maybe that is exactly whom the King is looking for!

I wonder if these are the people for whom an invitation like this matters the most because they need it the most and deep down they know they need it the most.

Perhaps people like you and me.

If you need God to do something in your life then respond to the invitation and go to the wedding banquet.

If you are seeking God’s presence, God’s abundance and grace in your life, then respond to the invitation.

And pay attention to the relentlessness of the invitation. It keeps showing up in your life. Every day in ways you can see and sometime in ways that are hard to see and yes, it even shows up in person. The invitation is here today.

Don’t mistreat it or take it lightly. Don’t pretend is doesn’t matter to you.

Don’t blame other people or even your own circumstances or your own choices for not responding to this invitation to the wedding banquet.

Then he said to his slaves, ‘Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

What if we could imagine this wedding banquet as the place where God sets a table for you and me that will satisfy our deepest needs, a table where that which is broken in our lives and in need of healing is filled with the righteousness and the grace of God.

You are invited to the wedding banquet.

Don’t ignore this invitation of grace to arrive at a place where healing is both promised and given.

Don’t ignore this invitation of grace to arrive at a place where the past can be buried and laid to rest in the bosom of Christ.

A place where the harsh judgment we bring on ourselves and on our worth doesn’t matter anymore.

It doesn’t matter because we have been invited and the invitation has been written in the blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

This invitation has been sealed and sent by the love of God that is poured into our hearts.

The invitation is a steady, daily drumbeat of grace that both whispers and shouts into our lives, RSVP, RSVP, please respond, please respond.

It is the invitation of Jesus, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Sisters and brothers, this is what healing looks like, what it feels like.

It is literally rest for our souls. It is the kind of rest that makes it possible to live and know the grace and love of God even when we are faced with difficult and challenging circumstances.

It is the kind of healing you will find at the wedding banquet.

The table God sets for us in the presence of our enemies.

A place where we are anointed with oil.

A place where our cups overflow with God’s mercy and goodness.

The invitation has been sent.

Répondez s’il vous plait.

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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