7When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” 12He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
This reading this week has created some very interesting discussions about how we relate to other people.. Who do we include or exclude? WHo are easy to relate to and who do we avoid? We were talking about how sometimes we try to look like we are make an effort but the reality is a very different thing.
The whole discussion today about sitting in the place of honour is an interesting one, there are things going on here that is assumed but is not overtly spoken about.. I have always thought about it in terms of wanting to sit with the cool or funky people, like having the chance to sit with a movie star.. But here, it is also about getting in the ear of the person who has power.. There were often bussiness transactions, family negotiation..
It made me think about the people we sit with and about who has our ear, or who do we listen to and who we have the ear of.. I am sure you have noticed with the new technology that all of a sudden if you do a search on something, every page you look at is advertising what you were looking for. (unfortunate when someone uses your computer for a search for something you are not interested in!) The problem with this is that there is few things that actually then challenge us to think differently.. We can go on our Merry way assuming everyone then is like us..
It takes courage to unlock our doors and our hearts to those who are different, those who are uncomfortable, or who seemingly have nothing to offer us.. The reading says we will be rewarded in heaven if we invite these people to our table. I would say we are often rewarded in the now when we have the courage to to open our doors and hearts to those who are different.
So the questions for me who is sitting outside my door that I am not too keen to let in? Who are the people that I am vying for the attention of and why? I was at a conference today and watched the people move around the tables.. The interesting thing I noticed about myself in this is that often I choose to sit with people because they make me feel safe and it is only when I am feeling safe and confident that I have the courage to open my life to those I don’t know… Somedays we need to be that person.. Somedays we just don’t have the strength to go there. But we are never supposed to go there in our own strength.. We are always sitting at the table with God first!
An after note… Did you notice that the empty space in the picture is in the shape of a cross? I found it interesting that the door is in the centre of it.. It challenges me to think that maybe it should be Jesus who decides who is in and out..