O Lord, Who never failest to help and govern those whom Thou dost bring up in Thy steadfast fear and love; Make us to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
--Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church
Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’ ”
--Luke 14.16-24 (NKJV)
The Kingdom of God will not be empty. The streets of heaven will not be desolate. The banquet will not be a flop. No. God's word and calling are effective in bringing people to faith, even the Gentiles. Though some make excuses, like the people in the parable, and some resist, like the Jews of Jesus' day, they do so at their own peril and to their own condemnation. Those who gladly receive his invitation and fill the house of the Lord should rejoice 'in perpetual fear [i.e. holy reverence] and love"of Christ our Savior. Rejoice, for our King reigns and invites us again and again to join him at his banquet, the Holy Supper. Thanks be to God!
Come, Ye That Love the Lord (Isaac Watts)
COME, ye that love the Lord,
And let your joys be known;
Join in a song with sweet accord,
While ye surround His throne.
Let those refuse to sing
Who never knew our God;
But servants of the heavenly King
May speak their joys abroad.
The God that rules on high,
That all the earth surveys,
That rides upon the stormy sky,
And calms the roaring seas:
This awful God is ours,
Our Father and our Love:
He will send down His heavenly powers
To carry us above.
There we shall see His face,
And never, never sin;
There, from the rivers of His grace,
Drink endless pleasures in.
The men of grace have found
Glory begun below:
Celestial fruit on earthly ground
From faith and hope may grow.
The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets,
Before we reach the heavenly fields,
Or walk the golden streets.
Then let our songs abound,
And every tear be dry;
We’re marching through Emmanuel’s ground
To fairer worlds on high.
Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash