The Banquet

St. Luke 14:16-24

·      Greatest tragedies in history

o   Separation from God

o   Separation from one another

·      Two of the great epidemics of our time resulted from this

o   Loneliness: we were made for community (yes, even introverts!)

o   Meaning:

§  We were made for a home, with a strong and enduring identity

§  We were made for a purpose, with an important part to play, and given the gifts and potential to play that part well.

§  Last week: when we have our community, we know our part and are developing our gifts, the result is a symphony or beautiful transformation.

o   Without community and a song, purpose, or being part of a plan, we are sure to suffer

·      This is our experience of sin.  We have missed the mark of our calling, of being part of the things for which we were made

·      So what is the solution?

o   A theological math problem, with the calculus of proper soteriology coming to rescue?

o   A juridical problem, with a proper understanding of God’s justice and the role of His Son’s sacrifice in appeasing it?

·      No, I framed the problem of sin the way I did so that we could approach it properly: we have a relationship problem.  We are separated from God and one another and thus suffer from loneliness and a lack of meaning.

·      Today’s Gospel flows naturally from this understanding, and it corrects some imperfections in some Western theology that compound the problem and make a proper diagnosis all but impossible. 

o   Some “Western” Christians might slip the mathematical and juridical approaches and recognize that the restoration of a relationship with God is central.  But their God is angry and even, dare I say it, capricious.  And like an abusive father or husband, the key to assuaging his wrath is to satisfy it with the death of His son.  This is a terrible theology, and Christ dismisses it with today’s description of the feast as the solution to the world’s pain.

·      The Kingdom of Heaven is a great meal to which we are all invited.

·      Are you lonely?

o   A meal!  Why is it so great?  At festal meals, we learn to leave aside all the petty things that have divided us.  Around a family table, we are reminded of who we are and what family we belong to and can relax into this.  When strangers come, there need be no awkwardness as the purpose is fixed and everyone is fed.  All of us have good things in common at the supper table.  We lay aside all of our pettiness to engage in this beautiful fellowship.

o   But it is also the meal of the king.  The invitation is the invitation to a restored relationship with Him.  And through accepting the invitation we restore our relations with one another. 

o   And because of the nature of the food that is offered, the restoration of the relationship grows and the problems of loneliness and meaning fade to nothing.  And neither exist at all in the great banquet which is to come.

·      This shows the love of our God and the beauty of True Theology.  Restoration comes not from solving theological math problems, getting the right lawyer, or creating a codependency with a wrathful God.

·      Restoration comes in accepting God’s invitation to a place at His Holy Table and to Feast at His Holy Supper.

·      Some chose not to come – and we pray that they repent and come to the table before it is too late.

·      But for us the way is clear, we have accepted the invitation, and thus we are being cured of the pain of sin and its separation.





Direct download: 20231217-SalvationasBanquet.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 8:24pm EDT