February 13 – February 19, 2018

WORD

6On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.  7And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever.  8Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.  9It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.  This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Isaiah 25:6-9

1Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son.  3He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come.  4Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’  5But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them.  7The king was enraged.  He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.  8Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy.  9Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’  10Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.  11But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’  And he was speechless.  13Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  14For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Matthew 22:1-14

Reading Scripture to Know:

  • What is happening/being said? (Observation)
  • Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
  • What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
  • What does it mean? (Understanding)
  • What does it mean for us? (Application)

Reading Scripture to Grow:

  • What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
  • Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
  • How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
  • How does this Scripture reveal God?
  • How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
  • What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?

Scripture Reads Me:

  • This passage makes me feel…
  • This passage makes me think about…
  • This passage reminds me of…
  • This passage teaches me that God is…
  • This passages teaches me that I am…
  • This passage challenges me to…

Reflection: On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food.

What feeds your soul?  In the Hebrew, the word naphesh, is alternatively understood as soul or living being.  We often misidentify our soul with our spirit, but actually the soul is the complete harmonious whole of the spirit, mind, heart, body, and will of a person.  God desires our soul to be united with him in shalom – peaceful, loving, holy unity.  To accomplish this, God supplies nourishment for our whole selves by his presence and providence.

To consider, then, what feeds your soul, you must ask several questions: How does God want to feed my spirit today?  How does God want to feed my mind?  How does God want to feed my heart, etc.?  These questions can be expressed other ways.  For our minds, for example, we need to ask: What thoughts will ground my mind in God today and provide me with clarity?  When considering our bodies, we might ask: In what ways will the use of my body today be pleasing to God and will promote wholeness?

So what are you feeding your mind with?  Your heart?  Your spirit, body, and will?  Are you surviving on junk food of the mind?  Are you indulging the empty dishes the world offers our hearts?  Are you being nourished in spirit?  Is your body longing for something wholesome?  Is your will starving from poor decisions?  What are you feeding yourself?  Remember that God wants to feed you!

God has set a table for us, daily, to feast upon with our spirits, hearts, minds, bodies, and wills.  God wants our whole selves to experience holiness, wholeness, and healing.  What will you feast on today in the fullness of your being that will fill you with such blessings from God?  How will you bring your whole self to the table of God today?  We must not be deceived; we cannot compartmentalize a “spiritual” life and separate the rest of who we are from communion with God.  Our spirits cannot take a seat at God’s table while the rest of us misses the banquet.  God is calling your heart, mind, body, and will to the table as well.  Feed them with God’s feelings, thoughts, strength, and actions.  There is a place for all of you at the table of God.

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: The wedding hall was filled with guests.

We should always be in prayer for the poor and those who are hungry, as well as working as best we can to aid the poor and hungry.  But there are also many who are well-fed with adequate means who are nevertheless hungering and thirsting for God.  Pray for those who are looking and longing for God, that they might find their way to the wedding banquet of the Lamb.  Ask God to put such persons in your path so that you might invite them and lead them to the banqueting table of God.

Meditation Focus: The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son.

 

Begin by stilling yourself, finding a comfortable place and posture for reflection.  Breathe in deeply through your nose, taking in the presence of God’s Spirit and letting the Spirit fill your mind.  Breathe out deeply through your mouth, releasing all of the confusion or preoccupations of the mind.  As you continue to breathe deeply, pray silently to God: “God and Creator of my mind center my thoughts upon you.”

Look at the four photographs above.  Where do you see God in these images?  Is God pouring a hot cup of tea to soothe a weary traveler?  Is God preparing a meal of grace for those who would seek mercy and intimacy?  Perhaps God has released the storehouses of bountiful provisions so that a great feast might be made.  Maybe God is carefully setting each place at a long table for honored guests.

Imagine yourself in one of these scenarios – coming in from the cold and being warmed by a steaming cup and a kind smile; kneeling beside a simple wooden bench and being offered a morsel and a swig; being told by God to help yourself and filling your plate with the finest berries, wholesome breads, and savory meats; or choosing your place at the table, whether it be at the head, the foot, or somewhere in between.  Smell the sweet aroma of the tea mixed with honey and cream.  Feel the bread and juice sink into your inner being, making your body whole and invigorating your blood.  Taste the sugar on your lips and the sauces on your tongue.  Look to the host of the banquet and measure how close or how far away you are.

Know that you are in the presence of God.  What do you notice about God?  What do you realize about yourself?  How do you feel?  What is God communicating to you?  God is a generous host, offering a bounteous feast at the divine banqueting table, welcoming you, sustaining you, filling you, and finding a place just for you.

Journaling Focus: But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’  And he was speechless.  Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

What an interesting postscript Jesus adds at the end of this parable.  What do you imagine it means?  As you journal this week, consider several of the questions below and what significance this passage might have for your life.

  • What does it mean to be “not wearing a wedding robe” at the banquet of God?
  • Why is it important to be “clothed” in these ways at the banquet of God?
  • How do we receive such garments?
  • What would you have said to the King if you had been asked where your wedding robe was?  Would you have been speechless too?
  • How can you make sure you are fully prepared for the banquet of God?

Holy Action: 

As you sit down to a meal with friends or family this week leave an empty chair at the head of the table to remember the presence of God with you.  Spend a moment in quiet stillness before the meal begins to consider how God might want to feed you through this act of fellowship and unity at the table.  Allow God’s presence to color your conversation and interactions around the table.

Breath Prayer: Father, feed us with your presence.

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