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Gottesblog

A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

The Killjoy: More thoughts on Trinity 20

I posted earlier about Matthew's parable of the wedding feast (He Is Worthy Who Has Faith in the Word of the King: Thoughts on Trinity 20). The wedding feast of the king's son is no ordinary party. It's important. It's a big deal. And so the rejection of those who were first invited was tantamount to rebellion. They were unworthy of the feast because they rejected the authority of the king.

The unworthiness of the man who came improperly dressed was also a rejection of the king and his authority. It was a rejection of the kings invitation. It was a refusal to participate in the king's joy at the wedding feast of his son. It was a refusal to participate in the joy of eating at the king's table and partaking of the king's sacrifice. 

I want to explore this second refusal a bit more. The man who came improperly dressed is a killjoy. You know the type. They come to parties hell bent on ruining it for everyone. They make everyone feel uncomfortable. They divert attention away from the purpose of the celebration, the reason that everyone has gathered together in the first place. They make everything about them and what they want, what they didn't get, and what everyone else did to ruin it. They bring everyone down with them. Their attitude, their demeanor is such that everyone suffers if they don't get what they want. You can see it on their face. You can see it in their body language. They refuse the joy of feast, and they focus on what would have made it better, what was wrong, what they didn't like. 

And so the king throws him out. The king gets rid of the killjoy. Why? Because nothing can ruin the wedding feast of his son. The party must go on. And it must be full. But it also must be joyous. 

How often is our joy in the Divine Service stolen from us by the killjoy in others and the killjoy that lurks deep within our fallen flesh? How often does the person who sits with his arms crossed in the pew, the person who slams their hymnal shut because of a new or difficult hymn, the person who is annoyed at the mistakes in the bulletin, steal our joy from us, take away our rejoicing? 

And so the king casts that person out because nothing is going to ruin his party, nothing is going to take away the joy he has at the marriage feast of his son, when we all dine at his table and eat of his sacrifice. 

There is a killjoy in all of us. Repent. Let the king cast him out. Let the king bind him hand and feet. He takes away your sin. He renews your spirit, so that true joy may flourish where true joy is found--at the wedding feast of his son, which has no end.

Nothing will ruin the king's joy. Nothing! And thus, nothing will ruin yours either. You are at the wedding feast of the king's son. Rejoice. Eat, drink, and be merry. The sacrifice is prepared. The guests are gathered. The table is set. Rejoice, you are at the feast.