“Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. ‘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.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’ (Matthew 22:10-14) I must admit, this is a tough one. Preachers have puzzled over this parable about as long as there have been preachers. An awful lot of carnage follows a simple invitation to come to a party! The King is insistent, “Please come to honor my son and me.” The good folks refuse and pay mightily for their mistreatment of the King’s servants. And so pretty much anybody is invited: “both good and bad” as the text says. And then the grand conclusion: a guy gets kicked to the curb for not wearing the right clothes to the party! So what do you do with a story like this one? It seems to me that what is most important is the insistence of the invitation: there is going to be a party and both bad and good are welcome. So, that pretty well eliminates the idea that any of us get to come because we are especially good or know the right people or vote the right way or etc. etc…For that matter, the especially “good” folks (that is, the ones first invited) are the very ones who dishonor the King with their refusal to attend. But what about the poor guy wearing the wrong colored suit? Well how about this: perhaps he sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb because he is the one person who doesn’t think he needs to change to come to the party. It was all grace; none of the attendees deserved their invitation. But all the rest of them had acknowledged their joy in being invited by putting on their best. The rejection of mercy is a terrible thing. An unwillingness to acknowledge the sheer giftedness of life really is a form of self-condemnation. Anyway, maybe that is part of what is going on here. Know anybody who does not feel worthy to come? Assure them of their invitation. Know anybody who thinks they deserve the invitation? Assure them of the sheer giftedness of the invite. Whatever the case, here is what we do know with certainty: an invitation has gone forth and you and I have been invited to the party that will never end. Time to put on our best and with joy answer the call. Looking forward to seeing all of you there! Have a great week.