Monday, February 2, 2009

Her şey hazır, gelin sölene! (Mat. 22:1-10)

This is the parable of the big party,and of the people who missed it.
İsa söz alıp onlara yine benzetmelerle şöyle seslendi: «Göklerin Egemenliği, oğlu için düğün şöleni hazırlayan bir krala benzer. Kral, şölene davet ettiklerini çağırmak üzere kölelerini göndermiş, ama davetliler gelmek istememiş.

«Kral yine başka kölelerini gönderirken onlara demiş ki, `Davetlilere şunu söyleyin: Bakın, ben ziyafetimi hazırladım. Sığırlarım, besili hayvanlarım kesildi. Her şey hazır, gelin şölene!'

«Ama davetliler aldırmamışlar. Biri tarlasına, biri ticaretine gitmiş. Öbürleri de kralın kölelerini yakalayıp hırpalamış ve öldürmüşler. Kral öfkelenmiş. Ordularını gönderip o katilleri yok etmiş, kentlerini ateşe vermiş.

«Sonra kölelerine şöyle demiş: `Düğün şöleni hazır, ama çağırdıklarım buna layık değilmiş. Gidin yol kavşaklarına, kimibulursanız düğüne çağırın.' Böylece köleler yollara dökülmüş, iyi kötü kimi bulmuşlarsa, hepsini toplamışlar. Düğün yeri konuklarla dolmuş.
As you can see, this story did not have a happy ending for the folks who got the invitations. Let's look at a few of the words Jesus uses to describe God's glorious kingdom:
  • konuk -- guest
  • davet -- invitation, party, reception
  • şölen -- feast, banquet
  • ziyafet -- feast, banquet
Way back in the old days, leaders didn't have business meetings, they had feasts. The guests would show up and "pledge allegiance" to the King by partaking of his food and drink. So one picture we have of the Heavenly Kingdom is of an ongoing celebration, a rocking, raucous, party, with the King having the most fun of all.

But, there is a dark side to this happy picture. Suppose you refuse the invitation? What if you are so embedded in the narcotizing routine of life that the call catches you by surprise? How many of you have had your heart's desire dropped into your lap, then fumbled away because you'd neglected to prepare yourself for the desired opportunity?

Well, folks, you can't say you weren't warned. If you look back upon those educational failures in your life, they came despite the advice and counsel of friends, family, and your own conscience. Procrastination, or just plain laziness, immobilized you, kept you from acting upon what you should have done -- and it can take decades to recover from the consequences of missing your window of opportunity.

Or even eternity.

Or, as in the case of Israel, thousands of years. Ever since God's promise to Eve in the Garden, of a redeemer who would crush the Serpent's head, God had given His people "previews of coming attractions." He had sent the prophets generation after generation to "make plain the way of the Lord." The religious leaders of Israel knew how to count, and knew from Daniel's prophecy that The Messiah was right in their midst. Yet, for reasons of their own, they refused to recognize God's King, and led a whole nation over a cliff.

Invitations in those days took two stages. First of all, the King would let it be known that the event was going to happen. Then -- well, it takes a lot of time in a pre-industrial society to slaughter, butcher, and cook a lot of beasts. To bake up a lot of cakes and cookies. To blend the beverages, count the silverware, get the ducks in a row. Finally, when all things were ready, the food was hot, come and get it, the second invitation went out.

Folks, my prayer every day is for wisdom to heed the first invitation, the knowledge of what I ought to be doing right now, so that the second invitation doesn't catch me flat-footed and embarrassed before the world, and the clown on the stage of my own conscience.

No comments: