Posts Tagged ‘Wedding Banquet’

Be Prepared 11-12-17

In this sermon, based on Matthew 25:1-13, I explore an odd parable of 10 Bridesmaids, and the instruction to be prepared.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:
https://soundcloud.com/revdalen/be-prepared-11-12-17

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

Grace and peace to you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Any fellow movie buffs out there will likely agree that there are very few new ideas making it to the big screen anymore. Sequels and reboots seem to make up the vast majority of the box office any more…and this has even started to effect one of the most creative movie studios out there…Disney.

Most recently, we’ve started to see the rash of Disney live-action remakes…taking their popular animated films from years past and through the magic of cgi, bringing them to life. We’ve seen it with Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast…we’ve seen it with Jungle Book. I hear that Dumbo in the works…and so is The Lion King.

Now admittedly, I’m kind of excited about the Lion King…it’s a great movie and they’ve got James Earl Jones to lend his voice to Mufasa again…so you can’t go wrong. But thinking about the Lion King reminds me of just how well Disney has perfected their storytelling. There’s always the hero going on the hero’s journey…there’s always a love interest…and there’s always the villain.

Some might argue that the villain is the best part…or at least the most entertaining…especially when they take the time to explain their grand plan to their lackey’s…who are always portrayed as bumbling or foolish for the purpose of comic relief…and more often than not in a Disney film…this scene is going to involve a dastardly song…and in the Lion King…we hear Scar…awesome name by the way…explain things to his silly hyena sidekicks…with the grand song and exclamation to (sing) “BE PREPARED…” and then one of the hyenas pipes “Yah be prepared…we’ll be prepared…(pause) For what?” (pause)

Scar

Now I can only think that this is a perfect example of where we find ourselves today, here in the final couple of weeks of the church year…and the turn in our texts to all things…apocalyptic…to the theme of the end times. This is the natural theme that emerges every year at this time, as the season of Pentecost winds down…and since Pentecost is aimed at the life cycle of the church following the Ascension of Jesus and the arrival of the Holy Spirit, it makes sense that we think about what will happen…what will occur…what its all gonna look like. (pause)

Honestly…these are pretty common questions…questions that I bump into pretty regularly as I talk with people…curiosity about what to look for. Or when we think its coming…or is it already here. And you know what, if you have those questions…you’re in good company…because people have been asking those same questions since Biblical Times…wondering about the Day of the Lord…or the Glorious Reappearing…

We hear this theme in the reading today from Amos…and I don’t know about you but it didn’t sound so pleasant there did it? It came up a lot in the years following Jesus’ walking around.  The Apostle Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians about it 20 odd years after Jesus…knowing that Jesus had promised that he was coming back…but now some believers are starting to die off and Jesus isn’t back yet? What’s that mean?

The gospels addressed it…and while the stories date back to Jesus’ time, the gospels themselves were recorded quite a few decades after the fact…so those audiences had been waiting and wondering. (pause) And not only that…but as we hear…Jesus himself talked about it…and his closest followers…the 12 disciples…the ones who you’d think would be able to understand…well they come up short too. That’s the reason that Jesus tells this story…this parable today…its part of long teaching…one that covers 2 whole chapters of Matthew’s gospel…and it is in response to the disciples asking the very same questions that we are still asking today.

Jesus and the disciples are leaving the temple…and the disciples are impressed at the structure…but Jesus says there will be day when not one stone is left upon another…and after a few minutes of scratching their heads, the disciples ask him “Lord when will this be? What will be a sign of your coming?” They might as well be asking how can we be ready….how can we…be prepared? (pause)

Now as I mentioned…Jesus gives them A LOT to go on here…including this parable about the bridesmaids that we’ve shared today…and what’s interesting about this parable is the switch that we find right at the beginning. We’ve hit a lot of parables in the past few months…and all of them start with Jesus telling us “The kingdom of heaven IS like…” Well today, that’s different…and we hear “the kingdom of heaven WILL BE like…” We switch our focus from present tense to future tense…but in doing so, Jesus lays a doosy on us doesn’t he?

There’s a wedding…and 10 bridesmaids go out into the street to wait for the groom…so that they can join in the wedding procession. Now admittedly, we don’t know a ton about 1st century Jewish wedding customs…but we do know that they were a big deal…and that every in the community was involved in the celebration…and all we can say is that the groom is coming to get his bride and he, along with the rest of the wedding procession, will escort her to his father’s house where they will celebrate. (pause)
And so we’ve got these 10 bridesmaids with lamps. I don’t know why…but they’ve got them…and as we hear we’ve got 5 foolish ones who bring no supplies…and we’ve got 5 “wise” ones who bring extra oil. Now, take note…that these two descriptions aren’t exactly polar opposites…because the original language could call the second set wise, or it could mean shrewd or crafty…so when you hear wise, take that with a grain of salt.

But that being said, we hear of the delay…the groom is late to arrive…so late in fact that all 10 fall asleep, wise and foolish alike…EVERYONE was sleeping when finally…at midnight…when EVERYONE is in the midst of the deepest slumber…this guy that is SO Late, finally shows up…Behold here is the bridegroom.

And in their freshly awoken stupor, the bridesmaids all kinda freak out and try to light their lamps. The 5 foolish ones quickly realize that without oil their not getting much fire are they…and they ask…maybe even demand that the others share their oil…but the wise ones…well as we hear, they aren’t having it. “No, for there will not be enough for you and for us. Go get your own.” And as we hear, the 5 foolish ones run off to do just that. (pause)

Now typically, when I’ve talked about this story with others…I’ve heard the same response…we need to be like the wise ones…we need to be ready…we need to be prepared…and when I hear that my response is just like the hyena in Lion King. Yah we’ll be prepared…wait…for what?

Now some will say that the wise ones were “prepared” because they were ready to wait…but here’s the thing…what if the groom had waited till morning? What if he’d waited longer? It would be light out and they wouldn’t need their lamps would they? What if he’d come earlier before it got dark…same deal right?

And so what are to take from this? That their “preparation” of extra oil was beneficial because of dumb luck? I don’t think so. Maybe all we can really take from this is the sense that the bridegroom is coming, but we have no idea when its going to occur.

In this story we hear that he shows up late…but right before this, Jesus uses an example where the master shows up early…unexpected both times…but zero sense of when or how…and that’s the tricky part about trying to “prepare ourselves” for the end times…for the glorious moment when Jesus will come again.

Because I fear when we start down that road…we all fall into the trap of creating the checklist…what do I have to do? What do I have achieve…or what do I have to avoid in order to KNOW, that I’m okay…that I’m good to go. We all do it don’t we…and we can call it whatever we want…though self-justification is a pretty good lable…as we get stuck in the trap of thinking I’ve got it together…because as long as I follow “the rules” I know I’m safe…or maybe we compare ourselves to someone else when we think well I’m not perfect, but at least I’m not that bad.

That’s the trap…and its based on fear isn’t it? I’m afraid that I’ll be left out…and I want to be assured that I won’t be…Did you notice that all 10 bridesmaids got stuck in the same trap?  The 5 foolish ones were afraid that without a lit lamp…without oil to burn, the groom would turn them away…and so they literally ran away from him as he was arriving in order to complete the checklist.  And the 5 wise ones…did you notice that they had same fear. “If we give oil to you there won’t be enough for you and us.” They might as well have been saying that if we help you, we’re afraid that we won’t have our checklist done, and we’ll be left out too. (pause)

Its funny…Jesus tells us “Keep awake” but all 10 of them were sleeping weren’t they? (pause) Here’s the thing…and I know I’ve said it before…and I’m sure I’ll say it again. There is no checklist…there is no cosmic scoreboard…there is no indication that you’ve done enough or said enough or completed enough…that’s not how this works.

And maybe for those 10 bridesmaids, instead of operating out of fear that the groom would reject them because they weren’t ready, and instead they had taken the time to look the groom who had already arrived…maybe they would have found that groom was gracious…that the groom simply wanted them all to come along…and that the light of 5 lamps was more than enough to light the way for 10 people. Maybe, just maybe “being prepared” simply meant that they were there to greet him when he showed up.

So what’s that mean for us, here in the 21st century…as we are still waiting? How are we prepared? If there’s no checklist…then how do we respond to this? And maybe, just maybe the only thing we can take from this is to know that whenever it happens…whenever the bridegroom arrives looking for you as an individual, all you can do is rely on the promise that the groom wants you to come along into the banquet.

We wait for the second coming when the entire world will know that he’s come back.  We wait with anticipation and we trust in the promise that through Christ God has claimed us…that invitation has already been extended. And we live each day secure in this promise…whether we see Jesus in the cloud today, or tomorrow, or next week or next year…or if something else happens to us in the meantime.

I can only imagine 1 week ago…those 26 people who had gathered together for worship in Sutherland Springs Texas…those 26 people who gathered to offer up their praise and thanksgiving…the last thing they expected was death…and yet I believe that in that moment, tragic and horrific as it was…the groom showed up for them…just as he has promised to show up for each us as our life ends.

Maybe being prepared simply means believing that no matter what happens, that promise is true…and in the meantime, living out today in a way that reflect that promise to everyone else.  Jesus reminds us to love God and love our neighbor…and he also reminds us that whatever you have done for the least of these, you have also done for me.

We don’t earn our invitation into the banquet…its given to us…and that’s news worth sharing with the world through our words and our actions, so that we might mirror God’s perfect love for all the world. Amen.

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Do We Expect the Spirit 10-15-17

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In this sermon, based on Matthew 22:1-14, I explore the parable of the wedding banquet. Do we expect to be changed when we encounter God? Maybe we should.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:
https://soundcloud.com/revdalen/do-we-expect-the-spirit-10-15-17

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

Grace and peace to you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Many of you are familiar with the fact that in my former life, or the time before I became a pastor…that I started off my career managing golf courses. During that season of my life, I was employed on the maintenance crew at 2 different courses…the first through my college years, and the second for about 2 years after graduating.

Now as is the case with most things…different golf courses are going to be managed in different ways. The first was larger with a bigger crew, the second had a smaller crew…and this became most evident on the weekends.  Pretty much every course that I am aware of works an abridge schedule on the weekends. It’s the busy time for the course, so the workers show up, perhaps a touch earlier than on a weekday…they do the bare minimum, which is usually mowing the greens and raking the bunkers…and then they get out of the way. This was actually the case at both of those courses. The difference emerged when we looked at when crew members were on weekend duty. The first course offered a rotation…and we were pretty much on duty every other weekend, both Saturday and Sunday…but the second was a little different. A couple guys worked Saturday morning, and a couple of us worked Sunday morning…me included.

Now my boss there knew that I was a church-goer…and given every possibility that I wanted to make it to worship…and typically that worked ok…we’d get done what we needed and I’d have to time to get home, get cleaned up and head to church.

But there was one time that things were a little different…and it happened to occur on the day that one of my nieces was going to be baptized a couple towns over. Long story short…the service would take place earlier than I normally needed to be at church…and we had some extra going on workwise…and I got out, with just enough time to make the mental decision about either stopping off at home to try and clean up…or to show up for the baptism in my grubby clothes. (pause) Long story short, that day I set the record for the fastest I’ve ever gotten ready. In the door, shower, dressed in a full suit, and out the door again in 6 minutes…Now I easily could have shown up for the baptismal service grubby, and no one probably would have cared…but I felt like I needed to be a little more presentable. (pause)

Now that very idea brings me around to the gospel. Another parable…another story told by Jesus to illustrate the importance of our response to the invitation of the Lord into the Kingdom of Heaven…and its an interesting one.

A king is throwing a banquet for his son’s wedding. The invitations have already gone out to the king’s chosen guest list…but for whatever reason…once everything is ready and the king sends his messengers off with the call to show up…everyone on the guest list declines…some offer excuses…some get riled up and literally killed the messengers…the king in turn…he gets all riled up as well, sends out his soldiers to kill the perpetrators and burn down their city…which is lovely to say the least. But then the king tells his servants, go out…and anyone you find, invite them in because this banquet honoring my son…it will be filled…and this is precisely what happens.  And you know its interesting…the king doesn’t discriminate does he…bring them in…the good and the bad. And the wedding is filled.

Now here’s the thing…how many of those people out walking the streets…or working in the fields…how many of them do you suppose were carrying a wedding robe at the time?  (pause) Think about it? Why would they…there’s no reason for them to think on this particular day that the king was going to invite them into a banquet…but if a representative of the king grabs you and says “come to his banquet” you go…period…right then and there…there would be no option of stopping off at home for a 6 minute clean up session so they could arrive with a suit on.

But apparently there are robes aren’t there? There must be…because, as we hear…there’s an issue on this basis…one we’ll talk a bit more about momentarily…and so…it raises the question of just where are they getting the robes?

It stands to reason that the host provides them…that as they come in…they follow social decorum…knowing they need to accept the robe…and the host knows he needs to provide them…and everyone follows decorum…and the party gets going…and the king does a walk through and everything is peachy…until the king lays eyes on this one guy…this guy who has the audacity to NOT…be wearing a wedding robe.

The king asks him why…he of course has no good answer and is standing there silenced out of his guilt in the face of the king and host…and as we hear…there are consequences. (pause)
Now I’ve run over this in my head time after time…and I’ve wondered…what’s up with this guy. He knows the expectations…he walked in with everyone else…he showed up at the party…but when he reached the door and one of the servants offered him the robe…I can only think that he looked at them…checked out his own attire and thought… “Nah…I’m good.” (pause) But considering what ultimately happens…it would seem that no, he’s not good as is…and the change was expected. (pause)
So what’s that mean for us today? What’s this robe? What’s this wedding banquet? What are these expectations that Jesus is trying to broadcast for us? (Pause) I’ve wrestled with these questions quite a bit…because to talk about banquet in the scriptures seems like a pretty obvious reference to the heavenly banquet that we’ve been invited to…and if we proclaim, over and over again…that God invites as we are…and yes I believe that to be true…then what are we supposed to learn from the guy who takes a look at the robe offered by the host and thinks “Nah I’m good.”

Maybe the only conclusion that we can reach is that simply showing up at the banquet isn’t enough…maybe its insufficient to think that we can just be here and then walk out the same as when we walked in.

What are the “clothes” that we might need to change? What are the practices or understandings or ways of thinking that we might be called to set aside? What things might God ask us to take off and set down, so that we might emerge different than when we came in? (pause)

As I think along these lines, I find myself asking an important question…do we, as believers in Christ, enter into situations where God is present expecting to see change? What do we expect? Do we anticipate the Holy Spirit to be active…to blow through and change us? Or do we think that we can just be present for the event…whatever it is…and then walk away as if nothing significant has happened?

Now there are a lot of different events or situations that we could consider…but perhaps the easiest one to think about is worship…do we show up here at 10:15 on Sunday morning with the expectation that there will be something different about us when we walk out at 11:30? Because if we don’t, we are selling the Holy Spirit short in a big bad way. (pause)
There’s something that I do every week that perhaps you’ve noticed…and I’ve been asked about it before…at the end of worship, in the midst of the final hymn…once the acolyte walks out, I step out of my pew and stand in the front of the aisle for just a brief moment…and as I do I say a prayer thanking God for whatever the Spirit accomplished during this worship time…but there’s another thing I do that no one probably notices…at the beginning of worship, right after the organist makes eye contact with me and I’m about to walk up the aisle, I ask for the Spirit to show up…and we never know how that will happen do we?

Sometimes the Spirit shows up when a child asks the perfectly timed question during the children’s sermon…sometimes the Spirit shows up when I sing Jesus Loves Me and the music for offering happens to be the same song…sometimes the Spirit shows up when I’m sermonating about God talking to us in many ways and someone’s phone rings.

These are just a few ways that have happened in this sanctuary…and there are many others, some that are blatantly apparent and some that perhaps we fail to recognize…but I return to the question…what do we expect of the Spirit when we enter into a situation…and do we come with the expectation that we will be changed in the midst of it?

The apostle Paul tells us that if we are in Christ we are new creation…and this isn’t something that we merely pay lip service to…but we need to think of this in the same way that Paul does in the original language…because they way he writes it implies some pretty serious astonishment at play…if anyone is in Christ…NEW CREATION!!!!!!

And we can rest assured that is what the parable is trying to tell us…because throughout the New Testament we continue to hear imagery of clothing ourselves…to be clothed in righteousness…to be clothed in Christ…and my friends this is very sacramental when think about it…for to put on Christ happens in the waters of our baptism when we are empowered with the Holy Spirit…and we are joined together with the body of Christ. And interestingly enough, the last time I preached on this passage one of our blessed children was being baptized in this font.

But this is not to say that the “wedding robe” that we put on only happens once in our lives…but we must remember that every single day…each and every moment we are called to embody the reality of death and new life…something that is literally happening in our very bodies every moment. (pause)

Did you know that in your body…in any given moment about 300 million cells die…and in that same moment, your body gives rise to 300 million new ones to replace them? You are literally dying and rising again during every single instant of your lifetime…and even more amazing…you were intentionally made that way by the one who has made new life possible through the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (pause)
God created us to quite literally, become new every moment…so let us live out every day, every moment, every situation in a way that reflects this…let us live our lives in a way that reflects the change that comes upon us through the presence of the Holy Spirit…the presence of God in us and around us.

We cannot expect to remain the same…for to try and remain the same is to deny the very being that God has made us in the first place. Amen.

Don’t Forget Your Robe 10-12-14

Today’s sermon is based on Matthew 22:1-14. This is the parable of the wedding banquet. Its a difficult and strange story, but yet there is hope to be found. I also explore this passage through the lens of a baptism which occurred in worship.

You can listen to the sermon here:
https://soundcloud.com/revdalen/dont-forget-your-robe-10-12-14

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here.

Grace and peace to your from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

Social decorum seems to set a certain benchmark in different situations regarding the proper mode of dress doesn’t it? In a given situation there is usually an expected way to present ourselves…and yet at times, when we are entering into an unknown situation, sometimes we have to ask.

I’ve found that to be the case when helping out in different congregations in recent years…most recently just a few weeks ago when I helped out a neighboring congregation on a Saturday night…and typically when I am faced with one of these unfamiliar situations I’ll ask the question “What’s the mode of dress?” That way I have some idea and I don’t show up wearing something inappropriate for the given situation. (pause)

But I had to learn this the hard way…on both sides of the coin. For instance…a number of years back…probably been about 9 or 10 by this point…I was a young wiseguy serving as Council Secretary for the congregation of 1st Lutheran Church in Milford, IA. Our congregation was coming towards the end of a building project…as we had outgrown the current building, and so we were constructing a much larger facility.

Now we were blessed enough to have identified a small fledgling congregation, Wisconsin Synod Lutherans, who were interested in purchasing our old building. Considering that the building would continue to be utilized as a place of worship, we were ecstatic…and so the day arrived when the leaders of both congregations would gather and sign the paperwork, making the sale official. The meeting would involve the pastors of both congregations as well as the council presidents and secretaries…and so, it would fall to me to be there.

Now you should know, at the time I was working in a local factory, and my attire on a daily basis included heavy steel-toed work boots…old greasy blue jeans…and a company t-shirt that picked up gobs of grease and dirt throughout the course of the day. (pause) It never occurred to me that I should allow myself enough time to run home after work and grab a shower…much less to bring a change of clothes…and so I walked into that meeting, where everyone was in suits and sports coats…and I could only think to myself. Wow…I am underdressed…and of course there was a picture in the paper from the meeting as well…Figures.

Now on the flip side, I’ve also overdressed…I once showed up to a job interview…thinking that it was going to be a slightly more high scale job…and so I was decked in a full suit…only to discover that this job was a phone sales position…and my soon to be boss, was wearing jeans and a polo. Awkward to say the least.

Based on the extremes of both of these instances, I have learned to think carefully about what to wear in given situations…though sometimes…a unique situation still arises…and that’s the case that we find in today’s story.

Another parable…Jesus is fond of them isn’t he? And today, he shares a doosy…a wedding banquet…that seems to be full of odd situations…Call me crazy…but doesn’t pretty much every detail of this wedding banquet seem strange…ludacris…almost laughable in the way that Jesus presents it? (pause)

Let’s think about this…a king throws a wedding banquet…the invitations have all gone out…the preparations are completed…the food is ready…everything is good to go…and so he sends out his servants to fetch the guests…and the guests…blow it off. (pause)

There’s craziness #1 right there…this is the king…social decorum would state that you would NEVER say no to the king…he invites…you go period…but yet these folks have something better to do…and they ignore the servants…at least the first few do…some of the other guests seem to be irritated…downright enraged at the interruption of the invitation…and they mistreat the servants…and some of them flat out kill them…WHAT? Kill the servants of the king? I don’t know about you but that sorta sounds like treason to me? No wonder the king gets mad and sends out his army…and that’s the next crazy point. Perhaps its understandable that he orders his army to kill the killers…but in an even stranger situation he also orders them to burn the city to the ground…hold on a sec King…this is your territory…that’s your city you’re burning down there…crazy…none of this makes any sense does it?

But after all of this, the king takes a look in the banquet hall…see’s the bbq all prepped and ready and thinks to himself…well…someone needs to eat this…and he sends his servants out to collect anyone they can find…good, bad, or otherwise…gather them in…bring ‘em on in…and that’s exactly what happens.

And now…despite all the craziness that has gone on to this point…its time to party…and the king…despite the earlier snubbing of the invited guests…goes into the party to welcome his new guests…and out of the entire banquet hall…his eyes fall on this one…random…guy.

This guy…without…a wedding robe….and the king…is…shocked. “Friend…how did you get in here…dressed like that?” (pause) And the man…has no answer…and he is thrown out. (pause)

Truly…this is a strange wedding that we’ve got going on here. What was this man’s crime? Was it that big of a deal that he wasn’t wearing a robe? Were the clothes you wore really that important in those days? Or is there something else going on here? (pause) Maybe, just maybe, what truly offends the king is the lack of preparation on the part of the man…everyone else seems to have taken the time to dress up…even if there were simply gathered in from the cross roads…but not this guy…it seems that he failed to take the invitation seriously…and he is punished for it. (pause)

Now…let’s remember for a moment that we are talking about a parable…and typically when faced with a parable we must ask ourselves just who are we in the story…because Jesus has this uncanny way of telling a story that points out our failings…and let’s us know that the kingdom of heaven is not gonna operate in a way that makes any sense to us…and considering the various oddities in Jesus’ story about this banquet…we can see that point is true today…

And so, we bring our minds back to the question of just who are we? (pause) Are we the king? Probably not…I’m pretty sure the king is God…so we can cross that one off the list…but what about the guests…those originally…invited? Do we fall in that category? Perhaps…I’m guessing at one time or another we have all ignored the invitation to come into God’s banquet…its in our flawed human nature to do so. (pause)

Well what about the servants…the ones sent out to gather the guest, the old and the new…are we the servants? (pause) Maybe? Probably, at least at one time or another…we are sent out to gather in more for God’s banquet table. (pause)

How about the new guests…those gathered…those brought in…good and bad alike…I think we all fall in that category as well…invited…brought in…just as each and every one of us was, at one time…invited to come and see this Jesus guy…and to hear the good news. (pause)

But what about that last guy…the one without a robe…the one…deemed unacceptable…the one cast out…excluded…the one, who wasn’t good enough? (pause) What about that guy? Can you relate to him? (pause) As this week went by…I had various conversations in and around this passage…and around general matters of faith as well…and throughout the course of those conversations, I kept coming back to this one guy…and the questions that surround him.

How did he get in? Did he sneak in? Was he there dishonorably? And really…in the long run, what’s the deal with this robe? (pause) And as I thought about all that…I felt a little bit of fear creep in…a little bit of doubt…and then the question…AM I…THAT GUY? (long pause)

Don’t we all fear that…being that one individual…the one deemed unacceptable? The one that catches God’s eye for all the wrong reasons…who hears the words of accusation…and worse yet, knowing full well that those accusations are true. (pause)

Ever been there? Ever stood in front of someone, knowing full well you’re guilty…and knowing that whatever they say, you can’t say a word…and you have to stand there…speechless…and take it? (pause)

That’s what I kept coming back to this week…the what if’s…the doubts…the fears…and I kept asking the question, “What…is…this…robe?” (pause) What is it that we are supposed to be wearing when we enter into the heavenly banquet in the age to come? What is it that will ensure that we are welcomed and not cast away…welcomed…and not thrown into the darkness? (pause)

And the answer…the only thing that I could come with is Christ himself…the son…the one that God throws the party for…we must be clothed with Christ…and then I found myself asking just how we do that…and low and behold the apostle Paul told me how…in the book of Galatians Paul writes As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself…with Christ. (pause)

And it hit me…the meaning of a sacrament…when God uses regular day to day things like water or bread or wine…together with a promise…and comes to us…and today…at this font…we celebrate this very thing for small boy named Elliot Johnson. (pause)
In just a few moments…Elliot will be washed with the water in this font…and likewise, he will receive the promise that God claims him as his own…that God names him his beloved child…and that God marks him with the cross of Christ and seals him in His divine love forever.

And each and every one of us shares in this same promise…that in the waters of our baptism we are clothed with Christ…and one day…one glorious day we too will be gathered into the heavenly banquet, where the robe of Christ will ensure that we are welcomed in the love of God…expressed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord…and as the Apostle Paul goes on to tell us, if you belong to Christ, then you are heirs according to the promise. (pause) Heirs of what? Well…heirs of a place in God’s banquet hall…a place at God’s table…but most importantly, heirs to the name…beloved child of God…and that…is something to celebrate.

So when God calls…and the banquet is prepared…don’t forget your robe…your robe…of Jesus Christ. Amen.