14th Sunday after Trinity 1.9.13 Luke 14: 7-14

23 08 2013

Move Up Higher

Jesus has beady eyes, and finds spiritual significance an unpromising context.

Luke 14.7-14

When Jesus noticed how the guests chose the places of honour, he told them a parable. 8‘When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honour, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, “Give this person your place”, and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, “Friend, move up higher”; then you will be honoured in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’12 He 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 neighbours, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’

Reflection

To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

Head Questions

  1. Why would Jesus go into the house of one of the leaders?
  2. Would he have expected to be under surveillance?
  3. Is there anyone present whom Jesus does not insult?

Heart Questions

  1. How do you feel when (if) invited to a big society event?
  2. Can you picture the faces of the guests when Jesus addresses their scramble for the best seats?
  3. What does it feel like to be exalted?

Hand Questions

  1. How big a part does hospitality play in your active discipleship?
  2. How truthful can you be about your own desire for a place of honour?
  3. Can you organize a hospitable event that would meet Jesus’ standards as spelt out in verses 12 – 14?

Finally

These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you. That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands. Take your time.

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