Come to the Banquet
Have you ever been to a banquet? Most banquets I have been to have been quite formal, but the most fun have been rather chaotic with a genuine mix of characters from all walks of life.
Banquets are a notable feature of the Old Testament – here is snippet from Daniel (Ch 5 v 1- 5)
“King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. 2 While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father[a] had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. 3 So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. 4 As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.
5 Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. 6 His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.”
There was mysterious writing on the wall and only Daniel could interpret it.
Jesus is not saying banquets are bad in themselves – in fact He may well have been at a bit of a feast at the start of this reading – BUT be wary of only inviting the ‘in’ crowd. Always try and think of the outsiders who may really appreciate being included. Especially at Christmas.
Jesus concludes a tough message on the total commitment demanded of any who would claim to be His disciples, with another reference to food; SALT. With recent publicity around there being too much salt in many modern convenience foods, we often forget how important salt was in ancient times; most especially as a preservative in hot climates. Jesus is making it clear that religion without salt – the witness of lives lived in love and truth that preserves the Church from decline – is worthless. How ‘salty’ is the Church in Yateley?
Dear Lord, may your Holy Spirit help me to be a true witness to your Glory, Wisdom and Love as I go about my daily tasks, including occasionally arranging – or being part of – a banquet; large or small. And may all my banquets be inclusive of the lonely, sad and less affluent folk. And may the Church in Yateley grow stronger, and so help preserve the local community in the Grace of God. AMEN
Finally note these words from Paul’s letter to the Colossians