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Marriage Feast

This sounds awfully like a version of Luke's parable of the Dinner guests,
somewhat muddled with that of the Landowner .
Presumably it was the same original story
but used in a different environment or to make a different point.
However, in the Gospel of Thomas, they appear separately and adjacent.

In "Thomas" the people rejected are those with the wrong focus in life.
"business men and merchants shall not enter the places of my Father",
instead of, as in Matthew's account, the chap in the wrong clothes, or in Luke
those who refuse to change their ways, hang on to their old apparel.
Each offers much the same message in a slightly different guise.

It is a story of inclusion, welcoming all to the Feast,
though incorporating a swipe at those refusing the invitation.
Knowing what is on offer but not daring, or caring, to take it up,
for many in both secular and religious society turn away from the Kingdom.

Of course, the bit about burning the city and killing the servants, in Matthew,
may well represent a later addition. It conflicts utterly with the message of Jesus.
It does not appear in Luke, nor does it tie in with the teaching of Jesus on turning the other cheek.
It is very human though, and might be seen (often has been seen) as the only sensible response.
It is also an illuminating picture of where Matthew is coming from in his Gospel account.

After all the host has been deeply insulted by these refusals, whatever happened to the servants.
Maybe that is how the King would have behaved (Jesus knew human failings)
but should he have behaved like that? Of course not!
It was a route leading only to more misery, horror.<
So what do we do when our position is threatened?
Make peace or war?
The last bit of the parable, which is peculiar to Matthew, opens a new avenue.
It identifies those who accept the invitation (the Christian message) but hang on to old practices.
Thomas sees these as "business men", those whose focus is still money and possessions.
It is a problem that is rife in the churches of today, as we struggle to maintain our buildings
and all the other possessions of the established church.

The invitation is there.
Mankind rejects it, ignores it, even kills the prophets and preachers.
That is the freedom that we have been given, but the offer is still open to all.
Even though orthodox theology maintains that Jesus was God's last attempt,
surely the great project, that we call Creation, will continue.