This week we continue our “Saving Grace”Lenten sermon series with “Salvation is a Banquet.” We turn our attention to Jesus’ Parable of the Great Banquet in Luke 14:16-24. In this parable of the Kingdom of God, a man is holding a banquet and the invited guests are too busy to show up. All of them have excuses. So he says to his servants, “Go into the highways and byways and invite everyone to come to the table . . .” Ultimately, everyone is invited to the feast.
In Psalm 63, which is entitled “A Psalm of David, when He was in the Judean Desert,” the psalmist speaks of the soul’s hunger and thirst — and the rich feast that feeds the soul: “God! My God! It’s you — I search for you! My whole being thirsts for you . . .” Then, he proclaims, “I’m fully satisfied — as with a rich dinner.”
To consider salvation as a banquet means, on the one hand, literal food — the sustenance that God provides — meaning that in the Kingdom of God everyone has enough to eat. But also what we celebrate in the sacraments of Communion is food and drink in the metaphorical sense, that salvation is satisfaction of the hunger and thirst we have for God and for meaning and purpose in our lives. Salvation as a banquet also speaks to reconciliation with God and with one another.
It’s no surprise the central sacrament for us, Communion, is at the table. When you sit down at the table with someone you are, in Biblical terms, reconciled to that person. When Psalm 23 says, “You’ve prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies,” that’s all about reconciliation. A banquet in this sense always offers reconciliation as well as celebration.
In the Communion ritual, we speak of “feasting at His heavenly banquet.” This is another image of heaven and fellowship with God and those who have gone before us.
I look forward to exploring with you this rich idea of salvation as a banquet this coming Sunday, and I invite you to consider who you might want to invite to your table of feasting, celebration — and reconciliation — this Lenten season.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,