Subject: Redeemer Downtown Devotional: Tenth Sunday after Pentecost - August 5, 2012

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Tenth Sunday after Pentecost - August 5, 2012

These devotionals are to help you prepare for each Sunday to come in the Christian Calendar.* 

[1] One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. [2] And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. [3] And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” [4] But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. [5] And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” [6] And they could not reply to these things.
[7] Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, [8] “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, [9] and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. [10] But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. [11] For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
[12] He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. [13] But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, [14] and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
Luke 14:1-14 (ESV)
This banquet scene is one of many found throughout the Gospel of Luke and serves as a reminder of the power and meaning of hospitality and friendship. The meal is presented as a moment of fellowship, welcome and embrace. On the one hand, this banquet is unlike any other that we will experience in our lifetimes. In it, Jesus has a pointed theological exchange with religious leaders, and then he heals a man with dropsy. These are events we don’t witness every day! On the other hand, there is an everyday simplicity to Jesus’ gesture and to his teaching on the nature of hospitality and welcome.

Hospitality is an act of service, whether it is granting an invitation to someone with whom you don’t have a natural connection and who will never return the gesture (Jesus cautions us from inviting merely friends, brothers, relatives and rich neighbors to a banquet), inviting those in need of healing and friendship (Jesus invites and embraces the man with dropsy), or offering your own place at the table to someone else less privileged than yourself (“Go and sit at the lowest place”). Hospitality is honoring those who might not ordinarily receive honor, and while many acts of Christian obedience may seem more dramatic, hospitality is no less significant, especially when seen as an entire lifestyle and approach towards others.

We know that Jesus Christ gave up a place at His Father’s table in order to give us a seat at His Father’s table. This is the ultimate form of hospitality, honoring those without honor. In light of that cosmic hospitality, are we willing to humble ourselves each day and invite others to sit at our place?

John C. Lin, Downtown Lead Pastor

Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect** from The Book of Common Prayer

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