Reflections: The 17th Sunday after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Luke 14:1-11
Daily Lectionary: Malachi 2:1-3:5; Matthew 4:1-11

Friend, move up higher. (Luke 14:10)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Sometimes Jesus teaches us things that don’t seem to have any immediate practical application. For instance, just a few verses before this parable of the wedding feast, He teaches that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed which grows and gives a place for birds to rest. This is nice, but sometimes, He gives practical advice about how to live your life. I can tell you that this parable is applicable because this exact thing has happened to me.

A friend had given a banquet and I sat at the head of the table. I began to eat, and within minutes, was asked to move. It was very embarrassing. I began, with shame, to take my place at a seat of lower status. If I’d just seated myself at any other place, I wouldn’t have had this shameful experience. Don’t sit at the highest place. Just don’t. It wasn’t fun.

It isn’t only about where you sit at a banquet, though. It’s also about how you live your life in general. Don’t go around thinking that you are the best of the best and deserve more than other people, and certainly don’t act like you’re worth more than others. The truth is that we are all sinners, and I’m the worst of them. Start there, and you can only be asked to move higher.

Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who are humbled will be exalted. This is a major theme of Luke’s Gospel. The rich go away empty-handed and the poor have everything given to them. In Christ, the hungry are filled with good things. His ultimate humiliation on the Cross results in the most glorious exaltation of His resurrection.

You don’t need to think that you are better than anyone else. That won’t get you anywhere, and it also isn’t true. But you also need to know that the Lord reaches down to those who are in the low places to lift them up. He has reached His hand down to you, and speaks to you as if He is already a friend. In your Baptism, you’ve been lifted up as His friend. Friend, move up higher. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me a spirit of despondency, sloth, love of money, and idle talk. But give to me, your servant, a spirit of sober-mindedness, humility, patience, and love. Yes, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own sins and not to judge my brother, since you are blessed to the ages. Amen. (Collect for the 17th Sunday after Trinity)

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch