When my kids were all in grade school and younger, we lived across from a neighborhood that was way above our means. When our oldest daughter made friends in school, the inevitable birthday party invites went out. My wife and I were stunned at how elaborate and grand the parties were for kids from that neighborhood. Fully themed Little Mermaid extravaganzas were in vogue then, as I recall. The cost of one of those parties probably matched my yearly income.
What is the biggest, most elaborate party you’ve ever been invited to? Did you enjoy yourself or was it challenging to be there?
No matter how big the party was that you attended, I can guarantee it didn’t hold a candle to ancient royal feasts. They were known to last up the 10 days. Even into the medieval period, England and France threw a joint party that lasted for 17 days in a huge field, where everyone was given coats woven with silk and gold.
This Sunday we’ll read a story told by Jesus about a party thrown by a king who gets snubbed. It’s a curious story, not without it’s critics. We’ll be reading Matthew 22:1-14.
Who do you believe the king is in this story? Who is the son? Who do you believe the people snubbing the invitation represent? Who do you think the replacement invitees are? If you said, respectively, “God, Jesus, the Religious Leaders, the church”, you would be in the company of the majority of those who interpret this parable. I agree with them too. There are other views about who is representing whom, but they aren’t as convincing to me, given the context and theme that has been rolling along since chapter 21 began.
Jesus compares the kingdom of God to an elaborate party. How does that fit within your pictures of what God’s kingdom is like? How does it match up with images of people with wings sitting on clouds and playing harps? Which is more appealing to you?
The story is a metaphor – so what do you think the king’s reaction to the people who snub his invitation and kill his messengers represents?
What was the criteria for the second group of people being invited to the party? What made them candidates for entry?
How would you interpret the last part of the story – the guy who is under-dressed and gets tied up and thrown out? What do you suppose this metaphor is representing to us about our invitation to God’s party? How might Galatians 3:27 help you imagine what this part means?
Just some stuff to ponder – hope to see you on Sunday!