Friday of Trinity 7 – Luke 14:15-24

| July 23, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Christ and the ChurchLuke 14:15-24

“Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the Kingdom of Heaven!”

What a nourishing thought!  I find it interesting that the anonymous person who made this great statement was sitting at the table and eating with Jesus Himself.  I wonder if he knew not only that he would eat bread in the Kingdom of Heaven but also that being with Jesus is eating in the Kingdom of Heaven.

I used to sit around and think of ways to end a particular sentence – almost as if I were a contestant on the old 1970s game show, “Match Game.”  The sentence I tried to creatively finish was: “The kingdom of heaven is like ________.”  I remember one day years ago when I was helping my friend move (for some reason my 1983 Toyota pickup truck made me very popular whenever people needed to move) in the middle of the summer.  By the afternoon I was worn out and sweating with no end in sight, and then . . .  drink and rest.  Out of this experience I developed the parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like helping your friend move all day in the heat of the Texas summer and then slurping down a Big Gulp from 7-11.”

I think we’ve got the Kingdom of Heaven all wrong.  The Kingdom of Heaven isn’t like a bunch of people who die and go to heaven and are turned into ethereal angels who float around on clouds and play harps all day and are bored out of their skulls.  I think if we had better pictures of the Kingdom of Heaven in our heads, we might be more interested in living in the Kingdom of Heaven here and now.

Jesus liked parties.  He was always eating at feasts, even with sinners,

He likes feasts so much that every Sunday at the Lord’s Supper He throws one for His people, at which He is not only the Host but also the Celebration and the Food.  “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the Kingdom of Heaven!”

God is in the process of throwing the greatest feast ever known: it’s known as the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.  The Father invites all people to this feast, but most people reject the invitation because they are unwilling to pay the price (more about the price in Luke 14:25-35 tomorrow.)  And so he has commissioned His servants to go out and compel people to come in, that His house (the Church) may be filled.

Now that word compel is a curious one.  It suggests force, and I think a lot of preachers of the past took it in this sense.  In a sermon titled “Compel Them to Come in” the great 19th Century preacher Charles Spurgeon tried, by the force of his words and emotion, to compel people to repent and come into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Spurgeon practically assaulted his congregation and treated them as if they were still unconverted.

I don’t think that kind of compelling people into God’s kingdom, His feast, works anymore, if it ever did.  I don’t see many people who have not had some Christian background spontaneously waltzing into our churches on Sunday morning.

But what if the word compel meant invite or strongly urge?

We do have a responsibility for bringing people into God’s eternal feast, His Kingdom, but we do it by invitation and strongly urging.

My belief is that the best way to get people to accept this invitation is to make sure you are at the feast every day yourself.  I believe that it is disciples deeply devoted to the Lord, the true Bread from Heaven, that are the most effective evangelists.  If we feast every day with our Lord, then three things will happen.  First, we will be healthy and joyful ourselves, as our souls feed on Him.  Second, people will see the health and joy we have and begin wondering.  Third, we will be so ecstatic about eating at the feast with our Lord that we will not be able to help but share with others this incredible source of life and health.

“Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the Kingdom of Heaven!”

Point for Meditation: 

How much and how well have you been “eating with Jesus” lately?  What is one way you can find to feast with Jesus today? 

Resolution/Prayer: Lamb of God, help me to come to Your Feast every day, and to accept the joy and health that comes from feeding off of Your divine Food.  Give me the grace to be so well-fed that I have the strength and desire to invite others to the Feast as well.  Nourish me by every means You offer to me, especially the weekly feast of Your Body and Blood, your Supper. 

© 2015 Fr. Charles Erlandson

Did you like this? Please Share it:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Give Us This Day

Leave a Reply