Who Wore the Warm-up suit to the Wedding

Today’s Reading: Matthew 22

Hello again, this is Lynden and I am excited again to be here. Today’s reading of Matthew has several interesting points that are very intriguing: The parable of the wedding, paying taxes to Caesar, the lady with seven husbands (who all were brothers), the great commandment, one that states “Who’s your daddy?” I have been reading over these and there is one that really has been calling me: “Who wore the warm-up suit to the wedding?”

Matthew 22: 1-14

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

22 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants [a] to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘the wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” 

This week, Jillian and I have been doing some deep cleaning of material items in the house and we have uncovered many pictures and special items from our wedding and the newlywed days. I have taken a couple of moments to sit down and reflect on those precious days. It seems as if the wedding day was yesterday, but it has been over 8 years. I can still remember the morning routine that I did that day. I still remember the cool morning of July 12, and the anticipation of the day. I still remember the first time that I saw her under the tree in the churchyard. It is one of most, if not my most memorable days of my life. Jillian and I had an engagement of about a year, but had dated for 5 years. I still remember when we sent out the “Save the Dates” several months in advance of the wedding and waited in anticipation of RSVP. There was a lot of preparation that had went into the special day and I would have been distraught if NO ONE SHOWED UP.

As I have been reflecting on the story this week I was somewhat sadden to see that the king had prepared such an awesome feast for the wedding and the invited guest didn’t show, then the close friends who didn’t get an invite declined, but then he has everyone in the city and highways be summoned and brought in and had the feast. At this point, I feel warm and fuzzy, then the kings is welcoming everyone and finds someone that is not properly dressed and then throws him out. This is so strange to me, “ Hey come into a bountiful feast, oops you have on sweats, I’m sorry you must go”. So I had to do some research and understand what is the rationale.

In biblical Jewish times the marriage of couple was several months or years at length. There are three stages: Contract, Consummation, and Celebration. The contract would be the “ketubbah” which the wife would chose her husband and then the father of the bride would sign the legal document stating the daughter is technically and religiously married. This is how Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ parents were married.   The second is the “chuppah” which is the consummation. The period between the Ketubbah and the Chuppah can be as long as 7 years; there is not a prescribed amount of time. During this time the bridegroom is preparing for his bride. This could be building a house, making enough money to provide for the bride, or something similar. Once the preparations are met then the consummation happens, and then there is feast or celebration that last for days or even for weeks.

So this is the big celebration that everyone has been preparing to witness for several months up to several years. There has been a lot of sacrifice and waiting and the time has finally come that we can part-take of the goodness of the family and the couple. So, as I research I can see that this is not just one day of merriment, but can be several weeks. This is not the first time that the people of the kingdom have heard about this upcoming celebration; this has been the rumor for quite some time.

I have to think about this as one of fairytales where everyone in the kingdom hears that there is a ball, like in Cinderella, everyone prepares for the ball, just in case they are called and invited. This is the “ONE” that everyone is waiting for and expecting. Just when you think it is all over, the king’s men come and say “Come you have been chosen to come to the celebration”. You have to go right then. So you grab your finest clothes that you have prepared for just this occasion. You have to be ready at the moment’s notice.

I can now understand the king’s actions at the end of the parable. Everyone knew the day of the feast would come, not everyone thought they would be called or invited, but everyone came anyway. You have to be ready when the king calls you; His Son is preparing a special place for His bride, and when He is ready, will you have your best suit ready or in sweats?

Prayer: Lord, allow us to be ready and properly dressed to come to your feast. We are excited and wait in anticipation. We pray you use us to help others prepare for the celebration. Amen