Trinity 20 2012

Trinity 20
Matthew 22:1-14

In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

By the bond of marriage two become one flesh. By the personal union, the Divine and the human natures in Christ become one Person. The Christ bestows upon His assumed human nature all of His heavenly possessions. (Gerhard Postilla). Christ has joined Himself to the human race in the most intimate bond that He might be a Sacrifice and Ransom worthy of all the sins of all men and put a stop to the devil’s claim upon us once and for all. All that was determined from eternity was accomplished in the fullness of time. God’s Son, Our Lord, took human nature into the unity of His Person. He married the human race. It is to this very wedding that the Lord God calls us wicked sinners. It is for us that this wedding has been arranged.

The Lord is into weddings. He arranged the first one in Paradise and He performed His first miracle at one in Cana. He is into gatherings around food, into wine and laughter, and celebrations.

That His coming to earth, becoming a Man, should be likened to a wedding should be no surprise, nor should it be a surprise that this be celebrated with a feast.  This was not a last minute party with neighbors drinking wine coolers in the driveway as the summer fades away. It was a grand event, a wedding, a long-planned and carefully attended feast. It was formal, deliberate, majestic. The invitations had been sent and accepted long ago. That was the role of the prophets.

Then it was ready. The servants went with the joyful reminder and encouragement. But those who had gladly accepted the invitation when the event was far off now found excuses. Jesus stood in the Temple within the shadow of the cross. The comsummation of time was upon them, but they found excuses.

This is the constant character of fallen men. The King sent servants, again and again, to beg the beggars to come. But the beggars didn’t know they were beggars and they would not come.

And that is not all. They also seized the servants. They treated them spitefully and killed them. The invitation became an accusation. “Please come,” rejected, became “you should come,” and that was a burden they would not bear. They would not be told what to do by him, a mere king. They would not accept his gifts and eat his food. They did not need or want him and they would not suffer people inviting them – as though they were lacking, needing a Savior and food and the like. He begged them, not they Him. So, they thought, they must be the real kings and He the real beggar and they could do what they wanted.

We aren’t into weddings. We’re into birth control pills and condoms. We are into fornication and divorce. We are into debauchery and hiding away by ourselves, with our imagined friends, to stuff our dainties into our cake holes all alone. We aren’t into weddings, we’re into masturbation. Feasts are meant for sharing and we certainly are not into that. And we are not into free gifts. We aren’t into charity unless we are the giver and others wait upon us.  We want to be God and not His subjects.

The Lord is also into Justice. An army is raised. Those who killed the servants are destroyed. Their cities are burned. The parables don’t play by our rules. They sometimes resort to impolite topics and foul language. God is not so much like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. He is  the God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and sent the Red Sea down upon the chariots of Pharaoh. He is like a king enacting vengeance upon stubborn criminals.

The Lord will have His way. He is into guests and food and weddings. The King will have his feast. More servants are ordained and placed into harm’s way, sent to evil, stubborn men with an invitation so good they are afraid to believe it. They are sent to the good and the bad, to the hi-ways and by ways, to the Gentiles of every land, of every moral failing, of every petty desire and base fear. They are sent to sinners and they invite: “All is ready. There is no charge. The feast is free. God is a Man that you would be spared. Come.”

And some came. We came. We came to the feast, to the wedding, and were covered with the King’s own garments, with God’s own righteousness and Name, washed and presented holy in Baptism and fed with the Lord’s own Body, imbibing of the most precious wine, the Blood of God made Man, shed for man, and raised again for life. There is Life in that Blood! So drink it and live: it holds the Life of God and the probhibition is lifted. The hall was filled with laughter and joy, as guilty men, we, freed from prison and certain death, rejoiced at the unexpected grace that He had given.

But this is not a nice parable. The wrath is not done. Some rejected the invitation and killed the messengers. They were destroyed.

But someone has come into the feast by the garment, by invitation, by Baptism, and then – God forbid, but it is so – then taken off the garment. He didn’t get in without it. He had it. But now he refuses it, he grows tired of it. He mocks it. He forgets the vows he made at confirmation. He forgets how he came in. He takes the King’s hospitality for granted. He urinates in the king’s potted plants and in the corner. He is drunk on grace, forgetting it is grace and thinking he is above the Law.  He paws at the serving girls and makes lewd remarks to the Queen. He thinks that he is the King and he dares to stand without even the shame of Adam in the garden after the Fall. He uses no fig leaves. He figures he is good enough just on his own – naked and unashamed, good enough for God or God can get over it.

“How did you get in here?” he is asked, and then he has no words. He has turned his back on praise and thanksgiving and therefore has nothing to say: he is silent. He had gotten there by grace. He had heard the invitation. He had accepted the King’s garments and food. But then he despised them. He is bound hand and food and cast into Hell, into weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This isn’t the nice Jesus from Sunday School paintings. He doesn’t quite work as the sort of  ceramic figurine that is sold in card stores. The Lord is into shaking us up, reminding us of who He is – The Lord – and who we are in Him – beggars, unworthy, but saved by grace. There is a warning here. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. The Lord is not mocked.

So repent and be covered anew. The wedding Feast goes on. The Lord is into continuity, on-goingness, steadfastness.  His Word and promise endure when men and flowers are forgot. He is into wedding feasts and He wants you here. He is still a Man, still one of you, still on your side. The Sacrifice is made, the Ransom in paid, the Righteousness of God is here for you, risen from the dead, out of the three day grave, and so is the banquet of His risen Body and Blood. The Lord is into all this, into mercy, forgiveness, renewal.

Come to the Feast. The Lord is into you.

In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.


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