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Students sitting outside Bockman
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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Next Day

I don't know about you, but when we invite people to our home, we usually have an idea about where everyone's going to sit. It's our house, after all, and usually the invitation is in celebration of someone or something that's going to have the place of honor. Maybe it was different in Jesus' time, but I still think that having the guests sort themselves out and choose their own places has always been a serious breach in etiquette. Part of the pleasure of providing hospitality is honoring one's friends, neighbors and beloved guests: it just won't do to have them squabbling over the choice seats.

Notice, however that Jesus doesn't reorder the seating arrangements. It's not his place. He's not the host. It's a parable: a story told alongside reality. Here the seating is unimportant. In the kingdom of heaven, God IS the host, and we the guests: it's time to stop fighting over who gets to sit at the head of the table.

Merciful God, forgive us when we fight for what is not ours to determine. Have mercy on us when we bicker over our place in your world. It is enough to be in your banquet hall: humble us, and help us to enjoy the feast of love and grace you offer. Amen.

Scott Johnson
Pastor, St. Petri Lutheran Church, Story City, Iowa
Master of Divinity , 2003

Luke 14:1, 7-14 (NRSV)

1 One sabbath when he went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching him.
7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them,
8 "When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him;
9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give place to this man,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.
10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, 'Friend, go up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.
11 For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
12 He said also to the man who had invited him, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid.
13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind,
14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.