Matthew 22: 1-14 The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
We often try to interpret parables to find easy lessons and clear allegories, but Melissa Florer-Bixler invites us to ask how the “Parable of the Wedding Banquet” interprets ourselves, the recent violence in Israel and Gaza, and where we can find the character of God and Christ within it. Much like our recent events, the parable is filled with ordinary people caught up in violence not of their own making, at the mercy of choices made by leaders more concerned about pride and vendetta than the vast harm they create. Jesus is not only criticizing the leaders of Jewish people during his time for aligning themselves with Herod and the Roman occupation that ultimately leads to the destruction of Jerusalem, but referring to his own imminent sacrificial death, not unlike those innocent bystanders in his time and ours, at the hands of others in power. The parable invites us into an uncomfortable, unsettling place of grief with this revelation in order to see the pain and futility of downward spirals of reciprocal violence. Melissa encourages us to think of recent reflections of past events and then ask ourselves sincerely “Where is your God in today’s parable?” or “Is God here at all?” Ultimately, we await the God who will one day wipe away all our tears and hold us close through the love of Jesus that overcomes death and meets us in our darkest places.