Jesus said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
I must confess I am looking forward to the Downton Abbey movie that comes out in September. The TV show is one of my favorites to binge watch on Amazon Prime. If you aren’t familiar with the show, it is set in early 20th Century England when there were still lords and ladies and lots of social rules. Much of the snark and best one-liners happen around the dinner table, which is elaborately arranged with characters seated according to their rank. The “historical advisor” for the show spends hours making sure the table is set properly and that the actors behave according to the very strict social rules of the period.
The strict rules of the world of Downton Abbey came to mind when reading Jesus’ dinner party instructions in this Sunday’s gospel reading. From how folks should be seated to who should be invited in the first place, Jesus seems to be setting some very curious rules about who should be welcomed at the table. Jesus’ idea of a party seems to be less about honoring those with privilege and power, and more about honoring and making space for those that are left out and powerless.
How can you make room for those left out? How can you lift up others around you?
Join us this Sunday at 6 pm as we gather at the Lord’s Table, where all are invited, and join us for supper following the service.