by Lilly Lewin
This past week our Canadian friends celebrated Thanksgiving. I’ve felt for a long time that we in America should adopt October Thanksgiving so we wouldn’t have to cram everything together in late November and thus actually get to enjoy the feasting and the family time. Thanks to Covid19, all celebrations are looking and feeling different this year. This is a weird season filled with so many different emotions. There are many days that I need to be reminded that God is still in control and still loving us in the midst of it all. And that leads to our *thinplaceNASHVILLE gathering around feasting. (thinplaceNASHVILLE is the house church we host via zoom twice a week. It is an interactive, multisensory gathering of all ages where we practice lectio divina)
Sunday’s lectionary readings featured three readings about Feasts and Celebrations.
Think about big celebrations you’ve been a part of, or feasts or meals that you still remember. What were they like? When have you participated in a great feast or an overwhelming meal or celebration? What made it memorable?
READ the Psalm of the Day
PSALM 23 The Passion Translation
1 The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.[b]
I always have more than enough.
2 He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.[c]
His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.[d]
3 That’s where he restores and revives my life.[e]
He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure
and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness[f]
so that I can bring honor to his name.
4 Lord, even when your path takes me through
the valley of deepest darkness,
fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
Your authority is my strength and my peace.[g]
The comfort of your love takes away my fear.
I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.
5 You become my delicious feast
even when my enemies dare to fight.
You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit;[h]
you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows.
6 So why would I fear the future?
For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life.
Then afterward, when my life is through,
I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!
What is God speaking to you about TODAY as you read these passages? Take time to read them again, use different translations to hear it in fresh ways.
What do you notice that you haven’t noticed before?
What questions do you have? What questions come up as you read the passage and/or the psalm? Talk to Jesus about these questions.
Questions to consider and Journal from this week:
- Remember that Jesus is talking to the Chief priests, the “church leaders” when he tells this parable. What do you think they heard if they knew Isaiah 25 well? What was their response to the banquet feast?
- How is the feast in Isaiah 25 different from the feast in Matthew 22?
- It was a great insult to the King to not show up for his banquet. To refuse the invitation, or accept it and then not come would have been disgraceful in ancient times. It would be normal for a King to retaliate with anger and even violence. Have you felt insulted before by someone’s lack of interest in some event you’ve held or party you’ve thrown? Have you wanted to take action against these people because of their disrespect or disinterest? Talk to Jesus about this! If you need to ask for forgiveness or process more about this with Jesus, take the time to do it.
- If we know the king is generous and is about blessing… why do we avoid the banquet? Why do we avoid going to the feast? What stops us from accepting his invitation? What are the excuses we use to avoid celebrating with him? What excuses do we use not to go to the banquet?
- How can we imagine God preparing a meal, a feast, a celebration like this just for us? Picture this. Imagine a feast prepared for you with Jesus. What would your feast look like? Sit down at the table, picture all the food and drinks God has provided for you. Imagine Jesus sitting across from you. What do you notice? What makes you wonder? What emotions do you feel? Does anything make you unfordable as you imagine this scene? RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE BANQUET!
- READ PSALM 23 again…What if God prepares a table for you in the presence of your enemies but not so you can gloat.What if the table is prepared so you can sit across from your enemies and be reconciled? Who do you need to sit across from and share a feast with in order to have your relationship healed? Who are you in conflict with that you need to sit with at a feast and share in God’s love and forgiveness together? Picture the scene. Imagine this person or person sitting across from you. Imagine Jesus sitting with you. Allow Jesus to heal you and your relationship with this person.• Who do we kick out or keep out of the feast because they don’t look like us or act like we do? Why do we want to limit the feast? Talk to Jesus about a person or group of people that you don’t like to invite to the feast. Ask Jesus to help you love them.
- What can you do to sit down at the Feast with Jesus this week? What do you need to stop doing in order to have the time and space to remember he is inviting you to the feast?
- What would help you remember that you are the invited guest of honor at the feast with Jesus? Eat on your best dishes or drink from a fancy glass this week to remind you to receive the gift of love and honor of Jesus.
- Cook a special meal and eat in with Jesus. Imagine Jesus sitting across from you. Imagine you are the guest of honor!
- Create space to sit across from your enemies and practice reconciliation with someone who is hard for you to feast with or celebrate with ...do this in your prayer time/imagine the scene. Allow Jesus to begin the healing process with you. READ Psalm 23 and Isaiah 25 to help you!
- LISTEN TO RICHARD ROHR’S HOMILY:“A Little Scripture Study is Necessary”
- Learn more about World Food Day (October 16). How can you help someone else enjoy a real feast this week? Buy a grocery gift card to give away to someone in need, give to a food bank, prepare a meal for someone. What else could you do to help those who don’t have the resources to feast?
Remember that Jesus is inviting you to feast with him today… what could that look like in the midst of all you have to do? How can you pause, breathe, and “receive the feast? “ Sending you much love and peace and hope today!
(thinplaceNASHVILLE is the house church we host via zoom twice a week. It is an interactive, multi-sensory gathering of all ages where we practice lectio divina)
Photos are from a worship service led by members of the L’Arche community hosted at the Greenbelt Arts Festival in the UK in 2013. In this service we acted out the parable of the Wedding Feast and it was the most joyful and wonderful worship I’ve ever experienced. Find out more about the L’Arche Community.