“Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Luke 14:1–23 (NIV)
When I was speaking at a women’s day a couple of years ago, I led the group in an imaginative prayer exercise about how God is the architect of our homes. In our mind’s eye we moved from room to room in the homes we pictured, each one beautifully different and unique – just like those assembled. For one of the women, the room that stood out most strongly to her was the dining room. In it she saw a massive table, heaving with good food for a feast. She said through tears how this image spoke to her deeply, for she holds a great sense of love for those who do not know the Lord.
I love this week’s reading, because although Jesus has again to put the Pharisees right about healing on the Sabbath, correcting their desire for rules over compassion, he also moves into two discussions of banquets. In the first he tells the guests how to behave – not to choose the best seats to later avoid suffering embarrassment when someone more important arrives. In the second, he shares the parable about how even though people are invited to the greatest feast of all, they find reasons not to attend – things more important than sharing his table.
For me, the banqueting table on earth can be a foretaste of heaven. There we will enjoy the richest of food without suffering indigestion or unwanted weight gain; there we will enjoy fulfilling conversations with people who know us deeply and completely; there we will bask in the never-changing love of the God who made us and loves us. May our exercise of the Sabbath, and those we welcome to our table, be a means of ushering in the kingdom of heaven here on earth.
For reflection: “Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love” (Song of Solomon 2:4).