Thursday, November 02, 2006

Welcome to the feast

Isaiah 25:6-9
Somewhere back in the depths of graduate school I heard there was a story about how the feast would happen. The peoples of the world would gather at the mountain and be fed. The chosen people would have the food as a nutritious and bountiful meal and those not chosen would be poisoned by the food. I’ve looked through my notes and books from where I think I heard it and can’t find it. So it may just be my dream.

But a reading of the text indicates that all peoples well be brought to the mountain and fed a feast. Period. Nothing here is about some people being damned in the feast and others being welcomed. This table, at the end of time, is set for all people. And we are welcome. This is a table where enemies can become friends; where warfare is wrapped up in peace; where the lion and the lamb can lie down in harmony.

While there may be wailing and gnashing of teeth and there may be separation of families and there may be a division of sheep and goats that is not a division of Muslims and Christians, nor a separation of black from white, rather the separation is between those who work to do the will of God and those who do not do so. And that last division is irrelevant to creed, color, race, gender, sexual orientation, and many other matters that divide the world today.

At the end time our divisions will be ended. But for Christians there is a further call. We are to live as if in what is not yet. We are called to break down the walls dividing us right now. We are called to invite all peoples to the feast of heaven. And that means in our own homes we are to welcome the stranger, the needy, those we despise and more. – we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves.

There is a mountain where all peoples will come to feast. But it is not a feast where we gain revenge upon our enemies and those whom we reject. It is a feast where all will come together to celebrate God’s work of creation. We will feast in joy at the redemption of God’s good creation. We won’t feast on the dubious pleasure of seeing those enemies taste the food and find it poisoning them.

We have been invited to a joyful feast in the realm of God. Let us go and make sure all peoples here that invitation so that they may come and join the banquet.

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