Our Vicar Marc, is on sabbatical until September and so our Parish Magazine asked Canon Paul Hardingham what he considers should be our priorities in life, given the current Covid 19 situation.
One thing that we’ve probably missed over the past year is parties. This month should enable us to party again! Lots of Jesus’ parables focus on parties, as they are a picture of the joy, hope and life of the kingdom of God. The parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14: 15-24) challenges us not to miss out on this.
In Jesus’ day, when people accepted an invitation to a banquet, they were only told the actual time on the day: ‘Come, for everything is now ready’ (17). Jesus’ invites each one of us to share in the life of His kingdom.
However, the guests made excuses for not coming. At the time, this would have been extremely insulting to the host. They said: ‘I have just bought a field; I must try out my new team of oxen; I have just got married’ (18-20). These are all good things in themselves, however they reveal their priorities were elsewhere. We too can be pre-occupied with our own routines of work, family, retirement, holidays, friends, home, social media, that we forget God’s priorities for our lives. Jesus calls for total commitment from His disciples. What priority in my life is holding me back from accepting His invitation?
How did the host respond? He ordered His servants to ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ (21). He invited the unexpected and unacceptable people to his banquet. Jesus makes the point that God’s kingdom is open to all! Thinking about our family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, even if they’re not like us or show little interest in God: Are we willing to offer them God’s invitation to share His love and life?