Matthew 22:2 – The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. (NIV)
Isaiah 55:1 – Say there! Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink — even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine and milk — it's all free! (TLB)
When my husband and I visited one of the Caribbean islands, our plane landed in the evening. Along with other arrivals, we were met and shuttled to the resort where we had reservations, paid in advance. After checking in and being shown to our room, we quickly changed from our heavy Canadian clothing into summer wear and headed to the main area where guests congregate at night. It had been a long journey. We'd just had a light supper on the plane, and we needed a snack and a cup of hot tea.
We were disappointed to find the buffet closed and the restaurants dark. The tea and coffee stand, available all day, was empty. The waiter at the bar did not understand English. When I mimed eating, he grabbed a bowl of peanuts from the counter. This was not what we had in mind. He simply shrugged and turned away. We tried another employee. "No. Closed."
It was after 10 p.m., but it was normal for guests to arrive at that time. Our usual experience at resorts is to be welcomed with fruit or juice. This night, we went to bed hungry. The all-inclusive hotel had made no arrangements. It was a poor first impression.
A few months later, I attended a family wedding in England. The church ceremony took place in the early afternoon, then we drove to an old, stately home in the country for the celebration. While official photographs were being taken, guests received fried potato chips in paper cones, served from an old wooden wagon. The wedding had a Sherlock Holmes theme, and funny photos could be taken with props.
As evening approached, we were seated for the meal. Soup was followed by another course, then another, and another. The main course was delicious. Dessert was divine. It was a feast! Red and white wine was provided at each table. A waiter brought champagne for the toasts.
Later, hot drinks, substantial snacks, a dessert tray, and the wedding cake were available. The dancing continued. We had a wonderful time; it was an occasion to remember. On the way home, and again the next day, everyone talked about the great food and the wonderful hospitality shown to us.
You have probably had similar experiences. But Jesus' parable is telling us to look forward to a wedding banquet the likes of which we have never seen before: a royal banquet; the choicest fare; a buffet that never closes … Jesus knows how to throw a party! He is the perfect host. Everyone is invited. Are you hungry?
Isaiah 55:2b – Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, on this earth, You feed us with the bread of life till we want no more. You left to prepare a place for us, and You await our arrival. Everything will be ready, down to the last detail. Help us to know that You always have enough for us and always have the best for us. May we be prepared for Your wedding banquet. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "We Gather Together" (Lyrics)