I've been wrestling with the Parable of the Wedding Feast this week, and we'll wrestle with it together as it's our Gospel for this Sunday. It's a nice story at first, with everyone being invited to the feast: good and bad, worthy and unworthy. But things take a turn, and quickly. Before we know it, the king sees a man who is not wearing a wedding robe and casts him into the outer darkness, where there is "weeping and gnashing of teeth."
We will unpack this together - don't worry. But as I've wrestled, it seems to me that one message of this complex story is that it's not that we have to "wear the proper robe," or live our lives perfectly, to retain God's love and favor. This demand for proper attire speaks, instead, to God's deep desire for us to respond to God's invitation with all that we are. God invites us, freely, without condition, to a banquet of grace and love and forgiveness and healing and transformation, and full, beautiful life. And God wants us to really SHOW UP. We'll surely miss out if we don't! And not because we've done something wrong and are being punished, but because we miss out when we don't bring our whole selves to the party.
God's free invitation calls us to show up with all of who God created us to be. It calls us to embrace the invitation and live accordingly. It calls us to bold, brave, authentic living.
One example of someone really "showing up" came to me this week via Twitter, believe it or not. Apparently written by a third grader, the following poem has been stunning folks with its insight and confidence.
"The True Feminine"
I am not sugar and spice and everything nice.
I am art.
I am a story.
I am a church bell, gonging out wrongs and rights and normal nights.
I was baby. I am child. I will be mother.
I don't mind being considered beautiful, I do not allow that to be my definition.
I am a rich pie strong with knowledge.
I will not be eaten.
This young author is really showing up to the party. May we all be bold, brave, and authentic enough to do the same.
- Pastor Marsha