Posts Tagged ‘Hospitality’

Nov. 30 - A Day in a Wheelchair

Image by vanhookc via Flickr

Our congregation has been working the issue of accessibility for people with disabilities for a long time.  We still have a way to go, but we’ve come a long way, too.  It’s a two-fold process.  We need access ramps into our church buildings, and we also need access ramps into our hearts.  We need to widen the doors of our church buildings, and we also need to widen the doors of our hearts.  From time to time I will post sermons, thoughts, or resources related to accessibility and disabilities.  To start the series, here is the sermon that I preached in 1995 on Morton Church’s first Accessibility SundayI am sure that the statistics I cited then need revision, but the need is as strong as it ever was–perhaps even stronger.

Unexpected Guests
 A Sermon on Luke 14:1, 12-24

One Sabbath day Jesus went home to dinner with a leading Pharisee of the local congregation. Now this was not a spur of the moment potluck. The host had put every bit of effort into getting ready for Jesus that we put into getting ready for our annual homecoming. It was a matter of honor to put on the finest feast he could, and the more important the guest, the more elaborate the feast.

The host put his head together with the cook about the food, just as we do every September. The food had to be tasty and there had to be enough of it and more. There was a special item on the menu: meat. It was too expensive to eat every day.

The host carefully instructed the servants how to lay the table and where. They must make comfortable places for the guests, and especially for the guest of honor. We know how important that is! Every year we worry about our guests getting too hot outside, and we debate about the best place for the tables. Last year we went all out and got a big tent to dine under.
Just as we do, the host probably planned a program for the guests to enjoy. He also sent out invitations by way of the servants. In his time, you invited your guests twice: once to announce the meal, and then again when the meal was ready. Last year, over one hundred people accepted our invitation to come home to Morton, and we had a grand feast!

At last the dinner hour arrived, and the Pharisee’s table was piled high with good things. After all the guests had gotten settled, Jesus looked around at everyone. He found himself looking into the faces of the host’s family and friends, the neighbors and the influential people in town. Jesus also noticed who wasn’t there, who hadn’t been invited to the party.

He leaned over towards the host and said, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbors. When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. Invite the people that the world forgets about. You welcome the people that world leaves out of its fellowship and off its guest list.”

Everybody around the table stopped chewing. What did he say? Jesus had some nerve talking to the host that way! (more…)

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