Last Sunday’s Sermon

Due to the service not being recorded, Pastor Bob has provided the text from this past Sunday’s sermon (October 26, 2014). We apologize for not having a recording:


“Go to the Street Corners” (Parable of the Wedding Banquet)
Matthew 22:1-14
Bob Henry

invitation1The Parable of the Wedding Banquet (NIV)

22:1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

This parable is often disturbing for people. I know my own understanding of this parable has evolved over the years. My introduction to this parable was at camp. I was in grade school and attended my first Adventure Camp. That night around the camp fire we sang the song, “I Cannot Come.” Here are the words:

REFRAIN:
I cannot come.
I cannot come to the banquet,
Don’t trouble me now.
I have married a wife,
I have bought me a cow.
I have fields and commitments
That cost a pretty sum,
Pray, hold me excused,
I cannot come.

[If you think about it…this is a kind of weird camp song. It goes on…]

Verse 1
A certain man held a feast
On his fine estate in town,
He laid a festive table,
And wore a wedding gown.
He sent invitations
To his neighbors far and wide,
But when the meal was ready,
Each of them replied….. (Refrain)

Verse 2
The master rose up in anger,
Called his servants by name, said:
“Go into the town,
Fetch the blind and the lame,
Fetch the peasant and the pauper
For this I have willed,
My banquet must be crowded,
And my table must be filled.” (Refrain)

Verse 3
When all the poor had assembled,
There was still room to spare,
So the master demanded:
“Go search ev’rywhere,
To the highways and the byways
And force them to come in,
My table must be filled before the banquet can begin. (Refrain)

[And then came the most disturbing final verse…]

Verse 4
Now God has written a lesson
For the rest of mankind;
If we’re slow in responding,
He may leave us behind
He’s preparing a banquet for that
Great and glorious day,
When the Lord and Master calls us,
Be certain not to say…. (REFRAIN)

I cannot come.
Music and Lyrics composed and sung by the Medical Mission Sisters, 1966.

So what questions ran through my mind that night at camp? Here are just a few:
• Would I refuse an invite to this party? …from the King?…or how about from the President?
• How could anyone be too busy? It’s a party (Wedding Feasts lasted for weeks, months even for half the year)
• If I don’t respond fast enough – I will be left behind?

And then our camp counselor read us the text from the Bible and I had more questions?
• What if I have the wrong clothing? Could I get kicked out? (This happens in churches still today)
• What if I get thrown out in the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth?

This fun song that we enjoyed singing each night and laughing about – wasn’t that funny. Actually, it was down-right terrifying.

We often think of Jesus’ stories/parables as “kid friendly,” but both last week’s Parable of the Tenants and this week’s are rather disturbing.

The first thing we have to make clear is that this parable is about the coming of the Kingdom of God – and more specifically it is about the Messiah, Jesus.

Look at vs. 1-2:
1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.

In last week’s parable Jesus talked about preparing a huge, lavish, successful vineyard – this week a party good enough for a king – not just any party but a WEDDING FEAST!

This metaphor comes up throughout the scriptures. We know that the Church universal – is the Bride of Christ. This is the banquet for their unifying. This is where Christ and the world meet! This is the Kingdom of God being made visible in front of us.

Matthew was writing with a Jewish bent – so vs. 3 (He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.) probably got their attention. Who was already invited? The Jews! God’s chosen people…”but they refused to come”!

What in the world? They were invited to the biggest event in history – the coming of the Messiah – but they refused!

Look at vs. 4

4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

Jesus explains that this is the Big One! “My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered.” As Jews, they would have known this was it, by just this metaphor. Every Jew would have been sitting on the edge of their seats…they would have been thinking, “The invitees would have to go now, right?”

Look at vs. 5

5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business.”

Nope. “They paid no attention” – they went to work, to care for their more important business. They were so lost that Jesus gives a throw back to his previous parable with vs. 6-7:

6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

So again the King is rightly upset – and again the text says in the Greek the same exact thing as last week’s parable of the Tenants:

“He will put out of the way entirely their bad nature.”

He will not accept this bad nature – from people (especially church people – good Jews) who know better. Sadly, Jesus has painted a picture of these chosen invitees that says they simply ignored or were caught up in their own stuff.

Take a moment and [PAUSE] here. Ask yourself some important queries:

As the church people of today…
• How am I ignoring God’s invite?
• How am I caught up in my own stuff?
• What busyness takes me away from what God wants to bless me with?

So just like in last week’s parable, God does a switcheroo!

Look at vs. 8-10

8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

God opens the door wide again – for both the “GOOD and the BAD”

The Greek says “the bad” are those overcome or full of labors, annoyances and hardships – they are pressed and harassed by their labors.

They are not consumed by busyness or getting ahead. They are simply caught up in their own basic needs. No, they are so full of labors, hardships, annoyances that they are trying to SURVIVE! Some struggle because of physical difficulties i.e. the blind, lame, deaf, lepers, etc… Others are the poor who were not born into the “right” family or privileged situation.

This is an entirely different way of seeing this parable.

“The good” then, in the Greek, are those of good constitution or good nature. Jesus points out that God is replacing the “bad nature” among them with the “good nature” – wherever it is found throughout the land!

So now we can understand better vs. 11-12:

11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

“Wedding clothes” are a metaphor.

The people who were gathered were those trying to survive – those who gladly accepted the invite for free food – a couple weeks or months of vacation from the daily grind! This King noticed them for being human – HE SAW THEM. And then there were those who already understood the good nature that God was wanting. These are the guests.

But someone hadn’t been TRANSFORMED by the GRACE of the KING! They stuck out – and he even called them a “friend” — so the King must have known them. They hadn’t accept fully what God was offering. They hadn’t changed their heart to match their actions. They weren’t wearing the “Wedding Clothes” the King was wanting them to wear.

To close, I want to allow N.T. Wright’s words about these final lines of this text to speak to our hearts this morning:

“… nobody really believes that God wants everyone to stay exactly as they are. God loves serial killers and child molesters; God loves ruthless and arrogant businessmen; God loves manipulative mothers who damage their children’s emotions for life. But the point of God’s love is that he wants them to change. He hates what they are doing and the effect it has on everyone else, and on themselves, too. Ultimately, if he is a good God, he cannot allow that sort of behavior, and that sort of person, if they don’t change, to remain forever in the party he’s throwing for his son…The point of the story is that Jesus is telling the truth, the truth that political and religious leaders often like to hide:

The truth that God’s Kingdom is a kingdom in which love and justice and truth and mercy and holiness reign unhindered.

They are the clothes you need to wear for the wedding. And if you refuse to put them on, you are saying you don’t want to stay at the party.                                                                           

                                                          NT Wright (from Matthew for Everyone)

LOVE, JUSTICE, TRUTH, MERCY, HOLINESS – these are the clothes God wants us to wear. And if we refuse to put them on… we are saying we don’t want to stay at the party. I don’t know about you, but I want to stay. I want to be TRANSFORMED! I want for the King to see me beautifully dressed and wanting to be at the Banquet.

Take some time to let this sink in and ask yourself, “Have I been TRANSFORMED by the Grace of the King”?

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Book Discussion on “To Be Told”

To-Be-ToldStarting Thursday, October 23rd, 7-8:30pm in the loft @ Main Street Bistro in Silverton.

Pastor Bob will be facilitating a conversation around the book “To Be Told” by Dan Allender. For those planning to join us, please make sure to order the book (or borrow it from the Silver Falls Library) and be prepare to discuss the introduction and the first two chapters next Thursday. Main Street Bistro is open until 8pm, but has kindly agreed to stay open for our group.

From the Back of the Book: “This is a book worth reading. Because this is a journey worth taking. To know who you are. To make sense of your life. To discover the role God is giving you in His story. That is a life worth living. Thank you, Dan, for a wonderful book!” – John Eldredge, bestselling author of Wild at Heart

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Wyldlife for Jr. Highers!

primary WyldLife_color_bigSFC families with 6th-8th Graders, this year we, along with other churches in our area, are encouraging our Junior High Youth to involve themselves in the Silver Falls Wyldlife Program (Young Life). This is a Christian, outreach group that meets every other Saturday night from 7-8:30pm at the Mark Twain Gym. It’s fun, it’s crazy, and it’s a great place to hang out and meet new friends.

10293631_10152473084263622_2137618573783679428_oSeveral SFC youth already attend. If you are a parent who would like to have their child get connected to this, please contact our own Rebecca Ortega at 503-873-7256.

The upcoming dates for Wyldlife are:

  • October 18
  • November 1, 15, 29 (the 29th will be a movie night for Wyldlife at the Young Life building on 2nd Street – time TBA)
  • December 15.

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*ALL NEW * Meeting for Study and Children’s Church

We are excited to introduce our new Meeting for Study and Children’s Church curriculum starting this coming Sunday (Oct. 12).

Join us on Sundays at 9:00am as we gather for our Meeting for Study. This year we will be only offering one option for everyone titled, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.” Throughout the rest of the fall we will explore:

  • The Problem of Emotionally Unhealthy Spirituality
  • Know Yourself that You May Know God
  • Go Back to Go Forward
  • Journey through the Wall
  • Enlarge Your Soul through Grief and Loss
  • Discover the Rhythms of the Daily Office
  • Grow into an Emotionally Mature Adult
  • Go the Next Step to Develop a “Rule of Life” 

Here is a video preview:

As well, Miss Debbie will be introducing “The Story” for Children on Sunday mornings during our  Children’s Church program. [Children's Church takes place during our Meeting for Worship. Children (ages K-6) are released before the sermon] We are excited to teach our kids the main stories from the Bible through this new curriculum. Here is a preview:

We look forward to you and your family joining us this coming Sunday as we begin these new ways of “Making the Road by Walking TOGETHER!”  See you Sunday!

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Prayers and Queries of Examen

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For those wanting this past Sunday’s prayers and queries of examen for reminders during the week:

Prayer of Thomas a Kempis
(from the Imitation of Christ)

Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know,
to love what I ought to love,
to praise what delights You most,
to value what is precious in Your sight,
to hate what is offensive to You.
Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes,
nor to pass sentence according to the hearing of ignorant people;
but to discern with a true judgment
between things visible and spiritual,
and above all, always to inquire what is
the good pleasure of Your will.
Amen.

Questions from the “Examen of Consciousness”
(modified from the Ignatian/Jesuit traditions)

1. Do you know that you are in the Presence of God?
2. What are you grateful for today?
3. Where is the Holy Spirit speaking to you, right now, about your attitudes, actions, motives, honesty or patience?
4. How are you “working out your salvation with fear and trembling” (i.e. deep respect and humility under God)?

St. Ignatius’ Prayer

Lord, teach us to be generous.
Teach us to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that we do Your will.
Amen.

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Call to Worship

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Here is the “Call to Worship” from this past Sunday which Laurel Summers heard from the Lord and asked to share. Many of you have asked for it.

This striving “for” and “against” must cease.
Be quiet in My presence.
Do not multiply words of demand.
Do not sing to Me of love and faithfulness and harbor resentment and anger in your heart.
I dispense justice and mercy as I will.
I am not here to do your bidding
You are to do Mine when I give you an assignment.
Be still and know that I am God.

Worship is a place for the humble.
Do not justify yourself in your heart.
Focus on Me – in Me you find perspective for everything else.
Feelings are not facts, however strong.
Do not be driven by those feelings.
Pray for My love to wash through you sweeping away the debris, filling you with light.
Self-referencing must stop – you are not the center of all that is.
I am.
Humble yourself, and in due time, I will lift you up.
Rest in the knowledge that here, today, as you are, you are deeply, completely loved.

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Resolving Everyday Conflict Begins Sunday

resolving everyday conflict

Dear Silverton Friends Family,

I am really excited about the coming 4 weeks! It has been on my heart for years to share what I have learned from Peacemaker Ministries.  I first experienced this ministry back when cassette tapes were all the new and best way to study. The information was presented by Ken Sande, the founder of Peacemaker Ministries. He is a great guy but his voice is one that is very soothing and had a tendency to bring about “rest” as you listened.

The NEW Resolving Everyday Conflict series is on DVDs with a gentleman named Tim Pollard who has a great English accent and is quite entertaining as well as informative.  I have watched it 3 or 4 times now and learn something new each time. People who attended the series already have shared many positive experiences. The information has been useful in helping family relationships, church relationships, and work relationships.

Conflict can be a slippery slope.  I have noticed with myself that when I am in conflict I have a tendency to want to escape until it gets pretty overwhelming and then I want to come in and be attacking. The Resolving Everyday Conflict series has taught me what God calls us to in conflict; to stop and think about how can I glorify God, making sure I have taken care of my “cravings” and the importance taking responsibility for my part in a conflict and apologizing when needed.

I wanted to let everyone know that I will be here for the next 4 weeks and I am more than willing to listen, and be available in whatever way is needed. I will be available for children and adults.  We are on this life journey together and I am so thankful and blessed to be traveling with you all.

“We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”  I Thessalonians 1:2-3

Love in Christ, Deborah Climer

 

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