Exodus 32.7-14, Matthew 22.1-14
Pentecost 13A, Oct 15, 2023
One time while leading a group of children ages 6 to 10 on a tour of the sanctuary we came upon an American Flag which was proudly on display. It was a class of students who were considering being baptized.
I had just explained that everything in the sanctuary symbolized some aspect of Christian Faith. One of the students asked, “Why is the American flag in the sanctuary?”
After a few moments of thought I explained, “While this flag is not exactly a religious symbol, the people in this church feel it necessary to show respect to those men and women who sacrificed everything – even sometimes their lives – so we could have the freedom to worship.”
One child asked, “What is ‘respect?”
Now, that caused me to pause. Try defining that word so that a 6-year old child might understand. For instance, you can’t say, “To show respect one must be respectful.” Not a very helpful definition.
“if someone is nice to you, you show respect by being nice to them in return.” I explained. I went on to explain, “If your parent gives you something you really like as a gift, wouldn't you be glad? Showing respect would be to take good care of the gift and saying ‘thank you.’”
With a sense of relief, this seemed to satisfy the class.
The parable found in Matthew of the wedding feast tells of a guest who had been invited disrupting everything and acting disrespectfully. The King, the host of the party, became quite angry. The disrespectful individual was dismissed.
Was the disrespectful guest demonstrating some sort of revenge against someone at the wedding party? Whatever the motive for the disruption, it was not respectful.
Was Jesus trying to explain that there are more appropriate and respectful ways for one to express displeasure? What would be a respectful method to communicate a complaint? Is it possible to show respect to someone with whom you disagree – or who has wronged you?
Come and worship this Sunday in one of our worship services where we will be contemplating respectful ways to communicate.