2nd Sunday after Trinity – June 26, 2022
- If you’re zealous to talk about Roe v. Wade and its implications this morning. I’m not avoiding it. We’ll get to it.
- I ask for your patience if you’re exhausted about how much you talked or listened about Roe v. Wade since Friday. I will be addressing it, but I pray that I will not just sound like an extension of the news channels or your social media feed.
In the world, but of Christ
First things first, we are gathered here as the body of Christ, to receive His Words and His meal for us. We may be in the world and must then address things in the world, but for us in faith, we are no longer of the world. This world as we know it is no longer our source, it is not our final home, kingdom, or reality. For us in the faith, we are now of Christ. He is our source, his is our kingdom, and he is providing our final home for us. Though we must endure this world for now, even so, Christ is our identity and reality even now.
When we gather as we are now, whether you realize it or not, it is a small respite from this world. It is an outpost of God’s kingdom, it is even Christ brings Heaven on Earth. Not because of something special we have done. All we do is bring our own sin and corruption into this slice of heaven on earth. But this is the place to bring our sin, confess it, hold it out in front of our eyes, and here how it has been atoned for, paid, and is forgiven by our Lord Jesus Christ’ work.
It is here that we receive together the peace that surpasses all understanding in God’s Word preached to us, it is here that we receive a foretaste of the eternal feast to come in the Lord’s Supper. In this Christian gathering, we are reminded most fully that we who are baptized into Christ are no longer of the world but find our source in our Savior. We call it the Divine Service, because it is God’s Service and works towards us. We return our sacrifices and gifts to God, but more importantly, we the branches come here to be fed by the true vine, who alone gives life to this world.
Let us be fed first by our source. Reminded of who we are in and of Christ, then we can speak about being yet in this world.
Holy Gospel – Luke 14: 15-24 “Parable of the Great Banquet”
Jesus gave the parable of those invited to a great banquet. This is actually just one in a series of parables Jesus gave about a great royal meal. Consistently this is how the scriptures describe eternal life, by the way, as the wedding feast of the lamb in his kingdom, Jesus the Bridegroom celebrating with the bride, us his Church, whom he has redeemed. That’s why we call Communion a foretaste of the feast to come.
Jesus is sharing these words while literally gathered at a table of a Pharisee who had invited him. And as Jesus has shared wonderful descriptions of the banquet of eternal life, one of those at table with him right then and there exclaimed: “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” No doubt, eating with our Lord must have been uplifting, and this man surely regarded himself as one who would be participating in the eternal feast to come.
Jesus responds then with our parable today. It is parable warning us, not that we would doubt our salvation, but to rebuke any sense of entitlement or contentment that we surely belong in God’s kingdom.
In the parable the man invites many people, perhaps we can assume they are his friends, or noteworthy and upstanding people. But they all have reasons they cannot attend. Seemingly viable reasons. One man has recently married, others have important work commitments to attend to.
For ordinary celebrations these excuses may be fine, but we know Jesus is speaking about something greater. This is about the banquet of eternal life! Even in earthly matters, what we put first is telling of what we value most. You send a crystal clear message when you can’t make it to a friend or family member’s wedding because “something else came up.”
Granted, attending the reception of eternal life isn’t a matter of returning an RSVP and showing up. No one knows the day or hour of when this banquet starts. We’re called to vigilance as Christians, waiting for the end or own death like anticipating a thief in the night at any time.
Simply put, we’re called to be faithful, and not to be entitled. Our Lord didn’t invite us because of how great we all are. Our Lord is disappointed, furious even, but doesn’t skip a beat when he is turned down by someone invited. Our Lord wants people at his banquet. Just as the man in the parable went and had all of the poorest and most helpless people invited, so will our Lord in the face of rejection go find someone else, someone we didn’t even think was cool enough to be on the guest list.
Let us then never carry a sense of entitlement as Christians. It is one thing to have hope and confidence in Christ and to live fearlessly in the freedom he gives us. It is entirely another thing to be proud, entitled, and to look down upon others. We should consider all of us to be the beggars that Christ has lovingly invited. We should consider ourselves to be among those, whom Paul said earlier in Ephesians, … that we were once far off, but have been brought near [only] by the blood of Christ.
Roe v. Wade
Regarding Roe v. Wade, truly the Church values all whom God has created and breathed life into. We should speak and act on behalf of any who are dehumanized, no matter if it is because of their culture, ethnicity, social class, gender, sexuality, or life cycle. Life is never too young or too old or too strange (in our eyes) to be valued.
The ones that we, for whatever reasons, may value less than others, may very well be among those whom our Lord Jesus found on the road and invited to his banquet.
With a loaded issue like abortion, let us proceed as our Lord teaches us how to be as Christians. First, with repentance of our own sins, whatever they may be. Then let us pray for humility, that we would look on all with the love of our Lord, even as their sins may bring condemnation. Our Lord does not desire the death of sinners, but that sinners would repent.
No doubt all of us will be caught in various dialogues over this issue. Proceed with humility, not to hammer home a point. Equipping ourselves with listening ears may be one of the most powerful things we can do. Not so the world would convince us contrary to God’s will, but that we would hear individuals where they are at, what they are struggling and frustrated with.
Some of my favorite words as of late are from Paul’s letter to the Colossian 4:5-6 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
We can testify faithfully of the truth with grace. We can patiently address people where they are at. Much of the world will still be angry with the church no matter how patient or gracious we are, but we might just be surprised how individuals will respond when we indeed are patient and gracious, finding the the best way to respond to each time and place when it comes to tense topics like abortion.
We also heard good wisdom from our OT reading from Proverbs. We’ll encounter scoffers, angry people who aren’t particularly interested in actually listening. Proverbs warned us not to try and reprove or correct a scoffer, he’ll just hate you more. Scoffers will always complain and pick apart something you say. There may be times it is better to be silent and move on, it doesn’t mean you lost or were too afraid to confess the truth.
It’s been a tense time politically. Let’s walk forward with humility, patience, and grace that our Lord provides us with. We’ll burn out trying to equip righteous anger constantly, maybe you already feel like you have! If Our God has had to watch all the wickedness of the world since the beginning, and yet graciously has patience, then I think we all too can endure the unrighteousness that flips our lids, trusting God will bring all things to justice in the end.
If you happen to be wrestling and feel conflicted between the faith and politics, I encourage you to reach out to me. I’m here to pastorally counsel, not just to pronounce judgment. I’m here to help by the grace of God whatever might have you bound and twisted.
Let us all live, not with a sense of entitlement, but all of us as beggars undeserving to enter our Lord’s house, so that when we receive his gracious invitation anyway, we are ready to cast aside this troubled world and enter his wedding feast joyfully.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.