long dining table laid for a meal

Everybody want to go to heaven

A current popular country song by Kenny Chesney says “Everybody wants to go to heaven, have a mansion high above the clouds, everybody want to go to heaven, but nobody want to go now!” As we wander along with the crowds listening to Jesus we begin to hear some recurring themes. We begin to “get” what he’s all about. It has been fairly clear that he has issued a cease and desist order against pride. Humility is the name of the game. Humility is the way of the kingdom. In fact we will not “get” the kingdom without divesting ourselves of presumption, pride, prerogative and privilege. And he has some pretty strong opinions about dinner celebrations. Along with the caution about not presuming the best seat is yours (humility again) he shrewdly answers what seems like an ingratiating “wink, wink” side comment from a smug card carrier who says “how wonderful it will be to eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Everybody want to go to heaven.. Jesus’ perhaps exasperated reply is to tell a story that suggests that we might be altogether surprised at who actually shows up at the table. The invited guests all have a reason not to come right now. They presume the invitation is a standing one. When they are done with the other important things they have in the works they’s be right along. However they betray a full misunderstanding of the cover charge. It’s not religion or status but it is sheer desperation and hunger. When we’ve run out of religion we are offered grace. That gets us a seat. (Luke 14)