What a great party Aaron managed to throw while Moses was on
sabbatical! (Perhaps Exodus 32 is a caution for associate pastors
against starting new initiatives while the senior pastor is on
vacation—even if the people beg.) Jesus too offers a parable of a
party. Such festivity will likely be the last thing on most people's
minds this week, however.
"I cannot come to the banquet; don’t trouble me now. I have bought me a wife; I have married a cow.” The guffaws and catcalls of the preadolescent boys as they improvised on a familiar song were designed to attract the attention of the girls at the religious retreat. We girls pretended annoyance as they sang. We knew that we should be insulted, but were secretly amused by their twist on the words.
If you are ever invited to a gala event where a constitutional monarch is present, you will be told to wear a dark suit or a formal dress—no pants suits for women, no leisure suits for men. Apparently the poor guy in the parable of the wedding banquet didn’t read the small print on his invitation.
The 23rd Psalm has led us in the paths of comfort all the days of our lives. But sometimes we have trouble hearing the things that are closest to us. Psalm 23 was a cherished hymn for the Hebrews. So when we read and sing the psalms as Christians, we are to some degree also in Jewish territory. It is wise to remember the nature of the Jews’ history with God.
Tables spread with mouth-watering morsels, guests gathered in the perfect ambiance, lots of noise, laughter and fun. We know a party when we see one. But we also know that not all parties are the same. Like the towels in the guest bathroom that are there to be admired but never touched, some parties focus more on display than on people.