All Age talk from Hurst College Chapel Prep School Service
The parable of the wedding banquet
22 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.”
Intro to me
So I thought Id better just introduce myself – as you heard my name is Jules. And I expect some of you will recognise me because I have 2 kids here in the prep school. But I also work for a church in Burgess Hill called The Point Church and I’m actually training to be a Vicar in the Church of England. Which is why I am here because I need to get some practice in speaking and helping in services in places like this. So that’s me…
So we’re going to look at the Gospel passage we just heard from Matthew which talks all about a big wedding banquet, or party doesn’t it? So how many of you know that when you read the bible you get two kinds of meanings, one is what we call contextual – but really means its talking about things at the time and the other is how we can use it today – what does it mean to us today?
So here in this passage Jesus is talking about a wedding banquet and he would have been describing a big Jewish wedding as it was back then, and they were pretty full on parties let me tell you. They would spend months preparing and once it was ready they would be huge, amazing lavish parties, the kind that everyone would want to come to. So then, I am sure lots of you have been to big parties, so if we were going to have a party here what might we need?
Got some bits in my bag here, but I need some help, what might we need…
Food (crisps/ biscuts etc)
Decorations streamers / party poppers / balloons
Nice clothes – bling – necklace, tiara
Music – ipod/ instrument? Drum?
Band – organist !
( see what other options they come up with)
What do you think? Is this going to be a great party? Ok so what if this was your party and you wanted all your friends to come – invites – we need to invite people – who wants to be a servant and give out our invites? (2 people)
Give out 6 invites – servants to hand out. (don’t open them yet)
So what happened to the people in the passage – did they come to the party? No, not only did they say no, they killed and ill treated the servants didn’t they.
Obviously were not going to do that to our servants are we?! Don’t worry servants you are ok – ok so what could we do to symbolize not wanting to come to the party?
Whose was given an invite – stand up – ok I want you to rip them in 2 – just in half – once is enough.
Ok well the thing about our passage is its not just talking a out a wedding banquet or a party is it? There’s a line at the beginning that tells us – Jesus said ‘the kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a banquet…
In the Isaiah passage today it says this:
On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines.
(ok well we haven’t got wine and meat but were almost there)
So what this is really about is the Kingdom of Heaven – now the kingdom of heaven doesn’t just mean the place where we want to go when we die. It means Gods kingdom, where God is and he is all round us isn’t here, he is everywhere. Wherever we are.
And God's kingdom is far better than the best party in the world. I can tell you from the moment I choose to accept Jesus into my life, my life has been one extraordinary adventure. Not to say it is always great, it isn’t, not to say nothing ever goes wrong of course it does, but having Jesus in your life makes everything so much better and easier and more peaceful and more joyful… it is a little bit like being part of a big exciting party with lots of friends around you.
And the thing about God's kingdom, is who is invited? What happens in our passage – some people get invited don’t they and they don’t want to come, so the king sends out the servants to invite everyone. It says ‘ all the people they could find, good and bad…’ Everyone!!
Everyone gets invited to God’s party. We are all, every single one of you can get to go to this party if you want to.
So who had the invites earlier – what do they say on the front (hold up)
RSVP – what does that mean – (response from kids)
Yes you have to respond…
So imagine if you held an amazing party and no one came, no one replied none of your friends or the people you loved – how would you feel?
I think that’s how God feels about us, he longs for us to come to his party.
And so do we want to be people who get to go to his amazing party? Do we rip up the invitation and push him out of our lives? Or do we want to say yes, I want to be part of this amazing kingdom?
How could you respond to Jesus invitation if you wanted to?
Ask them and see what responses
...or you could very shortly come up and receive communion or have a blessing, whichever you choose. Because when you come up and do that it’s a bit like saying, you know what, I want to know more about your kingdom, I want to know more about you in my life Jesus, I want to come to your party.
So just remember that invitation is always open to you. And you can accept it any time you like… and you know what Jesus would just love to have you at his party…