apocalyptic vision and even some of the images presented by Jesus in Luke's
Gospel pass beyond the frightening into the realm of the terrifying. Along
with the daily televised horrors from the Middle East, they warn us that
only fools can persist in the belief that dreadful acts will not have dreadful
But each reading speaks too of redemption, and after responding gloomily
to the stern negatives, I suddenly appreciated what is so wonderful about
the positive element in the passages--the wedding feast!
"Blessed are those who have been (they who are) called to the wedding feast
of the Lamb." Mentally I pulled myself away from the ruins of Babylon and
the misery of Jerusalem, away from the unclean, the sword and the harlot
and the blood, and remembered the weddings I have attended in recent years.
My memories of weddings in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa are
of good times. Obviously, the joy of the young couples, the pride of
the parents, the terrific food and drink, the laughter and music and dancing
were great. At those times my wife and I felt the sweetness of life;
we felt good about ourselves, our dear ones, about our world.
But in reflecting on these readings I find something else about the reasons
weddings are good, and on why John and the Psalmist used the image of a wedding
feast in communicating something about our relationship with God.
God could show His loving care for us by inviting us, metaphorically, to
an intimate, one-on-one dinner by candlelight, with superb cuisine and wine
and profound but delightful conversation, with soft romantic music in the
background. But instead, He calls us to that special celebration which
in every culture is most exciting because its very essence is communal.
In Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa, wedding feasts brought us together
with people we'd known and loved for many years, and we met new people to
admire and enjoy. At each event we were made to realize we were an
important part of an extended family. We belonged, we shared, we were
significant ourselves because the day itself was significant. Something
greater than any single individual mattered; even the wedding couple mattered
more that day because they had brought together so many people in the spirit
And so John and the Psalmist have excited me. God's wedding feast is
indeed the essence of His love for us. His redemption for us is an
enormous sharing. I will not walk into Heaven as into a restaurant
with a reservation for a "party of two." Humbly, I pray for the grace
to R.S.V.P., with pleasure, for the wedding feast!