The Rev. Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager is the Senior Associate Minister at The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.
Scripture: Luke 14:1, 7-14 (NRSV)
On 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 closely.
When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honour, he told them a parable. ‘When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honour, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and 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. But 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 honoured in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’
He 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 neighbours, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’
Reflection: Musical Chairs
This summer during a theatre camp at our church, the kids played musical chairs. It used to be one of my favorite games as a kid. The excitement of darting into a seat before the music stopped led a little preschooler in a pink tutu to giggle and dance around instead of playing by the rules. Then, one older child elbowed her out of the way.
Jesus plays a musical chairs of sorts on the community banquet. No holding seats for the highest bidder or the biggest real estate tycoons at this party. Only those who can’t pay a year’s wages for a seat receive places of honor. Only strangers without official documents or family connections can be guests at this feast. Imagine if we always served in this spirit?
Recently, our church community welcomed a new family of four from Iraq with a boisterous potluck dinner. They waited more than a decade for entry. Looking around at the shining new faces in our Fellowship Hall, I saw the kindom of God adding honor chair after honor chair while the music played on.
Loving God of Tables Wide, may we keep inviting the least, the last and the lost. May those on the margins and those seeking sanctuary receive the best seats in the house until every one is filled to standing room with blessing. Amen.
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayers of Intercession:
- For all the teachers and children who will head back to school in the coming days
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For cooler days and nights
- For new colleagues and friends that help re-energize our work
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
Manantial De Gracia
First Congregational Church of West Haven, UCC
West Suffield Congregational Church
Church of the Good Shepherd
Westbrook Congregational Church, UCC
This Week in History:
Aug 26, 1920 (99 years ago) The 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”
The Rev. Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager is the Associate Pastor at The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.