The Great dinner – Luke 14:15-24 NRSV
In our modern era, Harvest is a time when we particularly remember to be thankful for all that we have. We collect food to donate to our food bank and raise money for the work of Christian aid remembering those who have need of food and support, and wanting to share the good things we have with others
A traditional celebration of harvest often involved a special feast. Bread often featured. A loaf was baked into the shape of a wheatsheaf. To symbolise and celebrate a good harvest. They were traditionally hosted by the farmer who brought together the community of people who’d helped bring in the crops as a way of saying thank you and celebrating a successful growing year
In our bible reading today Jesus tells a story. That involves an invitation to a banquet – really fancy massive dinner party.
Jesus has been invited to the house of the leader of the Pharisees where there is a feast taking place and uses every opportunity to teach them about what being in Gods family is like – being part of Gods kingdom.
He has just told them that being generous to others who cannot return the favour is a mark of being in Gods family and will be rewarded by eternal life in heaven.
The response to Jesus saying this is…. ‘‘Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!’
Which makes Jesus tell another story. The story we just heard read. This is a story that tells them and us that enjoying the bread of the kingdom of God, having eternal life isn’t by just doing good things although that is important but actually having eternal life, taking part in the eternal heavenly banquet, is about responding to the invitation.
The man in the story had invited his guests to the banquet they said they were coming, and it was normal at that time to send another invite once the banquet was actually prepared.
So the feast was ready he sent out reminders once again. But the invite wasn’t taken, excuses were made. So the invite was extended. Streets and alleys – the undesirables and then further out still to the countryside and surrounding areas.
In the bible God first invited a nation to be his chosen people – who became the Jewish nation but in the bible we can read that they didn’t always obey God, some rejected him completely and so God told them he would open up his family to include non Jewish people too that he would send his son Jesus to make this happen – to offer the invitation of friendship with God to everyone.
The invitation that Jesus is trying to communicate about In This parable is an invitation to be part of God’s family, to know the hope of eternal life, The bible tells us this is possible through knowing Jesus’ love through his death and resurrection and when we know Jesus it makes us to want to follow his example. But we need to respond to the invite to know Jesus.
His example is one where we look out for others who are less fortunate than ourselves. Those on the margins of society.
And so that is why this harvest we want to give thanks for all the things God has given us, we want to share that with others but we can do this as a sign of our thanks to God for the invitation through Jesus to be part of his family.
An invitation we can all accept if we choose and one that changes the way we see the world through Gods loving eyes caring for the poor and marginalised in our community.
Father God Thank you for all the good things you have given us. Thank you for your generosity in sending Jesus Thank you for the example of his life and that being part of your kingdom involves the responsibility for caring for those that have less than us. Help us to keep sharing with and loving others as much as you do. We thank you that through Jesus you have made it possible for everyone to know you. To know your love and to know the hope of eternal life. Thank you that you give us freedom to respond to your invite and to be part of your heavenly banquet.