Our text today stands in stark contrast to the doom and gloom of our last reading about the fall of Babylon. It’s not the first time we’ve had an abrupt scene change, so to speak, as we’ve been reading through Revelation. Part of this book’s beauty is it’s unpredictability. What we do see as a constant theme is God’s unfailing love and patience with his fallen world. He wants the banquet table to be full.
We see a passage that ties together several main points from the New Testament. Included are praise, celebration, equality, blessedness, rejoicing, righteousness, and purity of the bride. It doesn’t matter how unworthy we may sometimes feel. “Praise our God, all his servants, all who fear him, from the least to the greatest.”
We also see the 4th beatitude given to John by an angel. It is proclaimed to be true words from God with an instruction. “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” What a reward we have that awaits us in heaven. As invited guests, we are truly blessed indeed. God never promised us a life of faithfulness would be easy. But we are assured it will be worth it.
Did you notice what John did? He was so overcome with it all that he fell at the feet of the angel, the messenger of God. I loved what the angel told John. “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sisters who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.” This is a good reminder for us not to worship the wrong thing. We need to be careful not to be overcome by an emotional connection to a person, place, or thing. God alone is worthy of our worship. And secondly, we are called to testify about our faith and not keep it to ourselves.
This dramatic splendor of the wedding feast reminds me of a wonderful memory David and I shared when we were serving a church in River Falls, Wisconsin. We were invited to an intimate weekend, Via de Cristo, also known as a Cursillo, DeColores, or an Emmaus Walk depending on your church affiliation. We spent a weekend full of reflection, renewal, and respite from the busyness of the world and life of ministry. These weekends are designed for church leadership to know Christ on a deeper level.
I can still remember our “invitation to the marriage feast” on the final day of the event. It was a “surprise,” and the anticipating had been mounting from the first night. The gymnasium where we had been eating all our meals had been transformed into a room of magnificent splendor. The tables were adorned with linens, crystal, and beautiful flowers. We were ushered in, one by one, walking in total silence with praise music gently playing. After a weekend of drawing close to the heart of God, this moment was very powerful.
What do you think of when you picture the marriage feast? Aren’t you thankful you have an invitation? Christ is finally united with his bride, the Church. We are the church. Take some time today to close your eyes and imagine yourself seated at the banquet table with Christ as his precious bride.
Let’s pray. Lord, I thank you for the opportunity to grow closer to you every day. I don’t need to go to a special event for my heart to be filled with you. I pray that I don’t let the troubles of this world crowd my head with worry or concern. You are in control and worthy to be praised. I look forward to the day when I see you face to face and can sit at the table of your glorious feast. In Jesus’ name. Amen.