On Sunday, we read the Parable of the Great Banquet, in which Jesus surprised his listeners by telling of an emperor who invited people from the crossroads to a banquet celebrating the wedding of his son. The “crossroads” in those days was the place where the roads came together just outside the city. It’s where the “undesirable people” hung out: beggars, refugees, prostitutes, the sick, the poor. Jesus’ audience would have been shocked because these are not the kinds of people who are invited to the palace, especially not for a feast.
This story reminds us that all kinds of people are part of God’s great vision for the world, which I called on Sunday “an outrageous fantasy.” The shocking things that Jesus said would have sounded like a fantasy to the people living at that time. Imagine an emperor who loves you deeply, who considers your wellbeing with every word, action and policy decision in the empire. Those who do the emperor’s bidding carry forth his love throughout the empire. Everyone feels the love!
This still sounds like an outrageous fantasy today—whether the leader is a president, prime minister, or king. The Bible commentator Warren Carter writes in his book, Matthew and Empire:
Some might say that all of that is just a fantasy. Perhaps it is. I would suggest, though, that it is preferable to a fantasy of violence and domination.
His point is that we can choose the way of Jesus, which may be a fantasy. However, it is a fantasy that we turn into reality in a thousand ways. So why not come along and take part in this vision where everyone is loved and invited—including you?
Kahu Alan Akana
“A Message from Kahu Alan Akana” is provided most weeks by Koloa Union Church, an Open & Affirming (ONA) congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference.
To see a video of this week’s worship service, including the message, click HERE. You may see the Koloa Union Church YouTube channel to see previous worship services and many of Kahu’s past messages. You can subscribe in order be notified when a new message is posted. Please share these videos with friends and invite them to church. Please feel free to “Like” any of the videos you see and share them on social media, such as Facebook, so that others will notice them.
You are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings! To see our Sunday morning schedule, click HERE.
Kahu Akana is also an accomplished artist! He specializes in creating vibrant watercolors of the flowers of Hawaii and hosts a Sunday afternoon reception in a gallery at his home, the Smith Memorial Parsonage. He also meets visitors by appointment. Most of the profit from the sales go for the maintenance and upkeep of the parsonage. To see a video about his art and gallery, click HERE. To see the gallery website, click HERE.