This week we continue our study of discipleship, as we turn to this interesting story that Jesus tells in Matthew. Jesus tells us that a King hosts a wedding banquet for the prince and when the day came, he calls everyone to the banquet who was invited. They refuse, which is very disrespectful, and the King is enraged, so he has them destroyed. This makes me very uneasy. The King seems unstable, but the story continues. He has a banquet ready and no guests, so he invites everyone out on the street to join the party, and they come. The banquet hall is full, and the King is hobnobbing with his guests when he sees one guest without the appropriate wedding robe. His anger flares again as he confronts the guest, who offers no explanation, and then the King has him bound up and thrown out into the night. What do we do with this story? This King is volatile and short-fused. A guest who didn’t even know he was going to a wedding that day is thrown out for wearing the wrong clothes. What gives? Sometimes Jesus’ stories confuse and anger me.
When we’re frustrated or confused, we have two possible responses. We can walk away and give up trying to understand, maybe even offer a derisive comment or two about the small-mindedness of religion or its violent tendencies, or we can dive in with humility, admit we don’t understand, and try to discover, “What is the point of this story?” Disciples dive in. Disciples acknowledge our lack of understanding, and we keep searching. It may be that you walked away believing that religion was a crutch for the small-minded or a weapon for bigotry, violence, and hate. But you can always turn back around and dive in, and try to discover with us, “What is the point of this story?” We believe a man, who died on a cross with forgiveness for the ones who were killing him would not want us to be small-minded or embrace bigotry, violence, and hate as weapons. That doesn’t make sense. So, come walk with us, dive in with us, and search with us, for Jesus has a message of grace, love, and acceptance, and we refuse to walk away from that message. In fact, we invite you into it, because