Often Jesus uses parables and stories to paint a picture of a spiritual truth that is deeper than mere words or directions. Instead, he invites us to imagine! So, I want you to take that beautiful imagination of yours and imagine… There is a great banquet hall with the finest of foods and drink. Within it is the greatest band you have heard and the décor is top notch. The ambiance sets the celebratory note and as you prepare to enter, there is a cheer of “Welcome!! We’re so glad you are here!” As each passes through, this chant erupts again and the party rages on!
In Luke 14:16-24, Jesus takes this image and gives us a taste of the great banquet of heaven. Read this passage and see if you can imagine this place and why anyone would not accept the invitation!
Notice that this gift is extended first to the ones who would expect it (the religious community is the people who say ‘no’) and then it is opened to all. Even with all those who came, there was plenty of room! If that doesn’t speak to a limitless God whose embrace knows no end, then I don’t know what does! In fact, whenever we dare to be unwelcoming, we simply stop being about God and God’s way.
Those of us who call CUC home must be extravagant in our welcome of others. Simply put, we are the people found out in the highways and byways of life who have wandered into a party started long before us and become the cheering squad that erupts with “Welcome!! We’re so glad you are here!” Imagine if that was our cultural norm as a community for all people! Truly then we would be living into our mission to “Engage and Embrace ALL!!”