Preaching & Presiding: The Rev. James A. Wetzstein, University Pastor
Special music by the Chorale
Organist: Dr. Joseph Bognar
Invited and inviting—that is the nature of the church. By God’s grace in holy baptism we have a place at the banquet table of the Lord. When, by the power of that same Spirit, humility and mutual love continue among us, the church can be more inviting still.
O God, you resist those who are proud and give grace to those who are humble. Give us the humility of your Son, that we may embody the generosity of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
The book of Proverbs is part of a collection of writings known as wisdom literature. Wisdom literature gave directions to Israel’s leaders and people for the conduct of daily life. Today’s reading is about humility.
6Do not put yourself forward
in the king’s presence
or stand in the place of the great;
7for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.
The conclusion of the letter to the Hebrews contains suggestions for the conduct of a holy life, all of which are shaped by God’s love toward us in Jesus Christ.
1Let mutual love continue. 2Do not neglect to show
hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels
without knowing it. 3Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in
prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were
being tortured. 4Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage
bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. 5Keep your lives free from the
love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will
never leave you or forsake you.” 6So we can say with
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?”
7Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 15Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Jesus observes guests jockeying for position at the table. He uses the opportunity to teach his hearers to choose humility rather than self-exaltation. Jesus also makes an appeal for hosts to mimic God’s gracious hospitality to the poor and the broken.
1On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a
leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him
7When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
12He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Agnus Day is a weekly cartoon drawn by Pr. James Wetzstein, usually based on Sunday's gospel reading. During the summer it is based on the epistle. It is updated on this site on Wednesdays.