A Story about a King, a Wedding Dinner, and Yeses and Nos
Scripture reference: Matthew 22:1-14
This is a story about a king, a wedding dinner, and yeses and nos.
Once upon a time there was a king whose beloved son was going to be married. Ahhh …. a wedding! This made the king very happy. “I’ll have a delicious wedding dinner for my son – and invite the rulers of the cities to come and rejoice with me!”
So the king’s kitchen servants bustled about, slaughtering and roasting a whole ox and several especially fat calves, and preparing all kinds of marvellous foods. Fine white coats were hung in the hallway – one for each guest to put on. The king’s messenger servants ran from house to house with invitations for the important rulers of the cities in the kingdom. “Please honour my son; come eat at my table and share in my joy.”
One by one, the servants returned, to tell the king: “My lord, he does not wish to come”; “My lord, he says he has fieldwork to do”; “My lord, he does not want to come”; “My lord, he says he’s too busy!”
What!? not want to come? Did all those important people the king had invited not think it was a special honour to share in the king’s happiness? Didn’t they even appreciate the invitation?
The king was a patient king. Once more, he sent out his servants. “Tell them,” he said, “about the huge dishes full of good food that my servants are preparing, just for them” “Perhaps,” he thought, “they’ll come now.” They didn’t. They didn’t care about the invitation. They weren’t interested in sharing the king’s joy. Some of them even grabbed and killed the messenger servants who had been sent by the king to repeat the invitation.
The king was no longer patient. He was angry. Those murderers!! How dare they first say they didn’t want to come to this very special day, and then kill his faithful servants!! And so the king sent his army to kill the murderers and burn their cities.
But …. There was the king’s feast, delicious and ready to serve…. But TO WHOM? “I am determined to find others who can share in my joy,” said the king, and once more servants were sent out to with the same invitation. BUT not to the privileged and important people. THIS TIME the invitation was for anyone at all – rich and poor, proud and meek, good and bad.
The white wedding coats still hung in the hallway, ready for the guests, and the king’s table was filled with fine food.
And these guests all came – eagerly, hesitantly, carefully, fearfully, – one by one – into the king’s palace, until at last the hall was full.
“Have we really been invited to sit in the presence of the king? To share in his joy? To eat with him? “ And all those who had come put on one of the fine white coats, ate at the king’s table, and shared in his joy.
This story has been told many, many times since Jesus told it first of all. Jesus, the great Teacher, told this story to the important rulers of the Jews because they thought they could say “no” to Jesus, and they thought it wouldn’t matter.
BUT IT DOES!.
Listen to this great version of “Come and Go With Me to My Father’s House”:
- Gospel choir: director Mark Anthony Henry with Soloist Caterina Finocchi