Proper 23 A 2011; Where is Jesus?


Any close read of the parable of the wedding guest who is thrown into eternal torment for not wearing the right clothing when he is brought into the wedding feast should make us nervous. It's made any number of readers nervous over the ages.

But it's not that we need to be nervous because we need to have the right clothes for all occasions, it's because it seems to paint a picture of a God that is terrifying and capricious. Not a God of Love.

But there have been readers who see God and Jesus not in the person of the King in the parable, but in the guest who is cast out…

And when we read the parable that way, there are historical echoes of an incident early on in Herod's reign where he behaved much like the King in the parable.

This points out the necessity of reading scripture in such a way that scripture can open our eyes to the truth about God. We must be careful not to read scripture in a way that our reading contradicts the rest of the teaching of scripture.

Which sadly happens very often.

The only way we can break out of this cycle of misreading is to acquire for ourselves eyes and ears that have been taught to see the Kingdom. That’s why the Church makes such a big deal about reading scripture and attending worship. Slowly but surely it opens a new symbolic universe. And we can see Jesus in the wedding guest cast into the outer darkness. We can see others as Jesus. We can recognize ourselves in the King.

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The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...