The parable of the Wedding Dinner shows that Israeli’s rejection of Jesus will bring judgement and those with true change of life including the outcasts will be included in God’s kingdom (Matt 22: 6, 7, 9, 11-13). The King in the parable is God Who continues to reach out to you and me through His messengers with the Good News again and again. In God’s agenda, everyone have already a place through an invitation into His Kingdom. The sad news is that many are making light of the royal invitation forgetting that the consequence is tragic. In the parable, what was a loss to the invited guest based on their false security became a gain of eternal life for the people of the streets. The invited guests make light of the royal invitation with different excuses and responsibilities including care for their properties, businesses, and family matters. The nature of human race is to make excuses for something that we want to get out of.

Banquet Invitation resonates with a call for bums on seats in our churches. The question is why is the church becoming empty today? The Wedding parable provides us a prophetic way forward by obeying and responding to the royal invitation not as a right but as a privilege. There is a sense of urgency to invite people to ‘Come to the Banquet,’ as they are in repentance. The truth is that, many of us have other things we are busy with, other things we are using to define our worth in the world. The reflection is that, not all Israel belong to Israel, not every assembly called by the voice of gospel are true church (Rom 9:6). Most of us would rather follow the conveniences of this life by rejecting the royal invitation or refusing to invite people to the Banquet as if there is no need for bums on seats. As servants and messengers of the King, our mission in the world is to invite guests to the banquet with bums on seats. We are called to go the highways and streets and invite people especially in a culture where people want to write their own rule book shaped by false security. God’s standard and reality for the banquet cannot be bend to our own wishes, we have to yield to God’s standard, dressing code, to be qualify for the banquet.

Empty churches is not part of God’s plan. God created and designed us for growth and to have fellowship with him, hence the urgency to have bums on seats in our churches. The purpose of the church is to help people to grow spiritually in relationship with God. It is sad today when we say the church is not about bums on seats. Bums on seats matter because bums are attached to people in the banquet and people matters to God and church. Bums on seats summons us to bumper harvest of souls in our churches. When read in the Bible for example, Paul’s ministry and missionary strategy in Corinth. Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshipper of God. Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his whole household believed in the Lord. And many of the Corinth who heard the message believed and were baptised (Acts 18:7-8). Christianity, and especially Methodism in the early days was a movement of knocking on doors, inviting and connecting people in mutual banquet and relationship with God. The imagery of a wedding banquet is a serious message to us today especially with reference to the man without the proper wedding clothes. As the basic issue of salvation, the proper wedding code correspond to true repentance for sin and faith in Jesus Christ. Beloved, please avoid the final judgement for those who reject Jesus Christ.

Prayer:  God of compassion, you hear the cries of all who are in trouble or distress in Ireland, Somalia and other troubled parts of the world. Accept our prayers for those whose lives are affected by storms, hurricane, wars and terrorist attacks: strengthen them in their hour of need.