I've been distracted lately. The summer has come and gone, and I've done my share of playing. Now comes a hard fall of trials. And I'm brawling sensely with folks far and wide over things that hardly matter. Time to resume looking at Jesus' parables, I say. Mustn't there be a center that holds somewhere? Is all merely strife?
The parable of the Great Supper has appeal. It is my second favorite parable, ranking second only to the story of the prodigal son. The theme of the welcomed outcast resonates.
But I had never really noticed the king's vengeance before. Those invited scorn the king's messenger and are themselves killed. All this before word is sent to outcasts to join the feast.
As always, lines are blurred and expectations reversed. And a challenged posed: There is risk involved in scorning the messenger. But how to know when the invitation is summoned? The parable doesn't say.
As written in Matthew 22: 1-10:
"Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
"Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.'
"But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
"Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests."