Morning Prayer           

Luke 14: 1 – 14

One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way. Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” And they had nothing to say. When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”



It must have been hard for Jesus to be around so many religious, even deeply spiritual, ministers and priests who yet were so opposed to him at the core of their mutual faith, that is Sabbath observance. This is what set them apart from everyone else – the law given by God through Moses. In following the law which included all kinds of clean/unclean regulations, they set themselves apart as God’s people.

When they were being trained by God to respect the law, some of them even died as they got too close to the Holy of holies while unclean or handling it inappropriately. One young man died on the spot for touching the Ark of the Covenant in order to steady it when it was in danger of falling while being transported. * God gave them incredibly detailed rules about the construction of the Holy of Holies, the garments the priests were to wear, the incense to be used, which could not be used for anything else, etc. This reverence for God’s law was bred so deeply in their bones. Sabbath observance was the keystone of this setting themselves apart, as every week one day was completely different than the others. Despite being under foreign occupation, the ministers and priests of that time had been successful in reinvigorating the faith

of the common people throughout Israel and believe you me, they all went to Synagogue on the Sabbath to worship and to be taught.

In this context then it must also have been very difficult for the ministers and priests of this time to deal with Jesus. He was so clearly full of grace and God’s power, so clearly blessed by God in all that he was doing and yet slapping them in the face because of their legalism, formalism and natural enjoyment of people’s esteem. Not only was he a challenge to their teaching and practice but he also regularly personally offended them. Ever since then we have seen this tension between those given charge of the people’s souls and the new, enthusiastic spiritual reformers who spring up to renew God’s church from time to time. As with the prophets and Jesus before them, they often end up being persecuted or even killed.

Notice as well that the “advice” around wedding feasts is a parable, a teaching with symbolic meaning, as opposed to a new rule of behaviour. Similarly when Jesus said to invite those to your dinners who could not invite you back, he was talking about generosity, welcoming all of Abba’s children into your home, as opposed to families and friends taking care of each other and ignoring the rest who may not be as fortunate. Being humble and being available to all Abba’s children were hallmarks of the spirituality of Jesus’ followers in an age when prosperity was seen as a sign of God’s blessing and poverty as a sign of personal deficiency before God. Does that sound familiar? As much as things seems to be always changing, they are also frequently the same. We as followers of Jesus are called to humility and inclusion of all those God gives us in our community of faith.

*  (2 Samuel 6:7)


Noon Day Prayers Question

When was the last time you passed someone who was poor and looked the other way? Imagine a scene at Tim Horton’s or some other venue and a poor person approaches you for money. Imagine Jesus being with you. Consider offering to buy this person a cup of coffee or something to eat, rather than ignoring them or giving them money (could be for drugs or booze). Be kind and generous as our Father in heaven is kind and generous with us.


Evening Prayer            

Luke 14: 15 – 24

When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’  “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the

crippled, the blind and the lame.’ “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”



In light of the popular expectation of a great feast in the coming kingdom of God, Jesus tells a story that reflects his calling. When those naturally invited (the righteous) all turn down the host, in this case Jesus himself, then he goes and gathers up all the outcasts (poor, crippled, blind, lame and perhaps homeless people outside the city). For the “righteous” of his time he was such an uncomfortable fellow! He is going around proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favour and they are continuing with their lives like nothing is happening. So it is those with the greatest need who are coming to him and choosing to follow him. It is they who will be at the table for this great feast and, by extension, the righteous will not because of their own choices. Ouch!

God save us from making this choice! Keep us open to the work of your Spirit amongst us!

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