Pastor’s Corner — October 15, 2023

History has failed us, no  matter….

Matthew 22:1-14

In Mathew’s parable for this Sunday, we find once again violence that’s hard to swallow. The King invites guests to celebrate his son’s wedding banquet but the guests refuse, and kill the messengers, leading to their destruction. The King then sends out messengers and invites people from the streets to fill the banquet hall. As the story continues, at the banquet they find a man without a proper robe and throw him out into the outer darkness where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” How are we to make sense of this story when compared to the kingdom of heaven? 

We continue to see violence raging in the Holy Land. Hamas and Israel at war. Mostly, innocent people on both sides are suffering death and destruction. There is nothing holy about war when so many innocent lives are buried under the earth by bombings. Where is God in all this mess we see? For centuries prophets like Isaiah have declared God’s vision for peace and mercy where God will “swallow up death forever!” This eruption of violence has a history. It didn’t happen in a vacuum. Even beyond what we see as a war between Jews and Palestinians is just on the surface. The history of colonialism in the Middle East predates the conflict, the very foundation for violence. Whatever the outcome, there can be no victory or celebration in this war. The messengers are murdered. When the dust settles, there is no peace. The leadership on either side is responsible and doesn’t have the proper robe for celebration. Is it any wonder when hearing the parable, the religious leaders intensified their plot to kill Jesus? 

Jesus, like the prophets before him, spoke truth to power. His heart was set for those who were suffering. Jesus wept over Jerusalem because of the violence he saw during his time. Jesus would also weep today for what is happening. Last Sunday, as a faith community we celebrated at the table of Jesus in the midst of a vineyard story of violence (Matthew 21:33-45) to remember God’s gracious mercy and love that never ends. This coming Sunday, we are invited to the King’s banquet and by prophet Isaiah to the mountain of the Lord where there will be feasting (Isaiah 25:1-9). We come to the table to celebrate not because the world is at peace. We come to the table because the world is not at peace. We come to remember God’s vision for our world. We come to the table because we are in need of peace in our hearts. We come to the table because more than ever, when we see violence and destruction when history has failed us, no matter, we come as an act of faith, for the kingdom of God is at hand. Thanks be to God. Amen. 

Pastor Dae