Monday, October 06, 2014

Matthew 22:1-14

Year A - Pentecost +18 or Community Practice 18
September 28, 2014

Always with the intermediaries. Why send “slaves” to do a final ask? 

Who would dare to ignore a king to their face or to try to imprison them? It is so easy for us to fall into judging where we are going to spend our time and energy. Convenience is a major issue here. Also at stake are judgments about survival and whether attending a wedding will detract from the needed commerce to continue growing personal wealth. Both of these remind us of the eternal tension between our social contracts and our personal judgments.

Here the kingly prerogative is to make the king’s judgments preeminent and so all citizens need to drop everything to attend to wherever the king ends up on a particular decision. Why would a wedding banquet be expected to be of the same import and value to everyone? Is this but the latest in a series of vanities of kingship that is weakening the interrelationships of the community or is it a key turning point in the way the citizens are recommitted to one another? The mere fact of a banquet doesn’t tell us much about where it fits into larger pictures.

The only consistent things here is the hair-trigger recompense a king is able to wreak upon their subjects. Many are slaughtered and single outliers are bound and tortured.

Where would you rank this particular parable in light of other parables. Is this on the same par as a mustard seed?

What aspect of heaven does this convey that another parable about a field pearl doesn’t or can’t? And, is this a constituent part of heaven or another of our interpretations based on kingly privilege?

Not being able to take a parable at face-value, how might we use this to reveal a misconception about heaven (defined by hell rather than itself) or an integral part of its nature (exclusive, decisional)?

Imagine for a moment a moral that is a bit less privileged. What would it be like to follow Chapter 21’s insight that many regarded Jesus as a prophet? Might that push us to reconsider the telling of this parable in favor of one that is more prophetically merciful than kingly/priestly judgment and end with “Many are called, and many welcomed.”

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