Excuses, Excuses

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Monday, November 10, 2014 – Proper 27, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 80 (morning) // 77, [79] (evening)

Joel 1:1-13

Revelation 18:15-24

Luke 14:12-24

Today’s gospel is full of people who are full of excuses. Unlike many excuses for missing work or class, these excuses aren’t urgent or dramatic. There is no persistent illness, no family emergency. Rather, the excuses that people give for not attending a great dinner all involve a range of culturally-praised achievements. But, at the very moment when we fulfill our aspirations, we just might be missing the greatest party we’ve ever been invited to.

Jesus tells his parable at the home of his host, a Pharisee. In the story Jesus tells, someone sends out an invitation to a fabulous dinner. One person makes the excuse that they have just bought some property and need to go check it out: “please accept my regrets.” Another person explains that they have just purchased five yoke of oxen, “and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.” A final person explains, “I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.” Apparently, newlyweds don’t like to socialize much!

The modern equivalents to these excuses could include the endless tasks that come from owning a home or other property, or the continual upgrades to our technology and efficiency, or the inward focus on our partnerships or nuclear families. None of these things is necessarily bad. However, they all have the potential to saddle us with lots and lots of excuses for missing a party, for missing each other, for missing the kingdom of God.

What’s our excuse today? We could probably come up with a long list. But the God who wants to be with us, to feed us, and to celebrate us doesn’t want to accept our regrets. He wants to accept only us, our very selves, with no excuses.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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