Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost Lectionary Text:
Jeremiah 2:4-13; Psalm 81:1, 10-16; Proverbs 25:6-7; Psalm 112; Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16; Luke 14:1, 7-14
Proverbs 25:6-7: “Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great; 7 for it is better to be told, ‘Come up here’, than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.”
Luke 14:1, 7-14: “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 honor, he told them a parable. ‘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; 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 honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humble 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 neighbors, 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.”
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost Comment: When I first read these passages, the word that tied them together for me was the word embarrassment. “Embarrassment is an emotional state experienced upon having a socially or professionally unacceptable act or condition witnessed by or revealed to others.” (Wikipedia). This definition also includes the fact that, “Personal embarrassment is usually accompanied by some combination of blushing, sweating, nervousness, stammering, and fidgeting. Sometimes the embarrassed person will try to mask embarrassment with smiles or nervous laughter, especially in etiquette situations…” (Wikipedia).
I also believe it is implied in this proverb and Jesus’ parable that pride is the pre-condition that often results in embarrassment. Then I thought how wonderful is God’s love for us that it covers every condition of the heart. By following the teaching presented in this proverb and parable we are protected from this negative state of being, from embarrassment.
I read these passages a second time and believe both of them teach us that humility keeps unhealthy pride in check, even dispels it. Evidence that humility is alive and well in our hearts can be witnessed by the person who, “(gives) a luncheon or a dinner, (and invites)…the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.”
Let us remember that the spiritually “poor, crippled and blind” walk upright with 20/20 vision.
Blessings in Ordinary Times,
©August 18, 2010
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