August 31

Luke 14:1, 7-11

“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host;” vs. 8

Jesus had been invited to dinner on the Sabbath at the home of a leader of the Pharisees and people were watching him carefully–and he was watching them. He was particularly amused at how they were jockeying for positions of honor around the table and gives them some practical advice. It would be better, he told them, if they did not plop themselves down at the place of honor at a banquet table. Of course Jesus probably didn’t care much about where he fit in the social structure. It doesn’t seem to have been important to him–but it was in that community–and it continues to have more importance than it deserves. Too many people spend too much time worrying about whether they’re received proper honors–and we all know the horror stories about violence perpetrated by those who feel they’ve been dishonored. Even congregations are not immune. People like to be honored, and if they’re not, all hell can break loose. Now, we’re not going to be able to eliminate honor codes from the social structure–they’re deeply ingrained in our community’s DNA and widely accepted. But honor is always sweeter when it’s received and not claimed. And if we don’t get the honor we think we deserve it’s really not that big of a deal!

Thought for the Day: How have I been dishonored?

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