When the invited guests did not come to the banquet, “the owner of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ And the slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.” Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled.’”
Yesterday a friend posted about hearing news of the Supreme Court ruling on Gay Marriage while on vacation with her family in Provincetown:
Today, June 26th 2015, my family and I had the amazing experience of celebrating the Supreme Court decision in Provincetown, MA. It was the state (and town!)that the first same sex marriage was recognized. My children had the unique experience of witnessing history being made. My grandchildren will never know a world where you couldn't marry whomever you want to. Feeling hope today!!!
Hope. With exclamation points!
How different this week seems from last. A week ago it seemed like such deep darkness. And today, like my friend, I feel great hope.
On Monday came the decision by Governor Nikki Haley to ask the South Carolina legislature to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds. And other leaders across the South followed suit.
On Thursday I attended a local memorial service at Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in Providence. It was a beautiful service. Amazing prayers of grief and comfort and hope. A wonderful sermon. But beyond the content of the service, I was filled with hope when I saw that half of the congregation that night was made up of white people. And outside of the church, in between the anthems and the preaching and the prayers, we could hear the sounds of children playing.
And then there was the Health Care ruling. Whatever one may think about the Affordable Care Act, health care ought to be a basic right. Taking health insurance away from millions of Americans would not have been a good thing.
And finally, on Friday the Supreme Court ruled that equality under the law requires the right to equal marriage for gays and lesbians. And President Obama delivered an inspiring and challenging eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney that ended with him singing “Amazing Grace.” It was amazing. And it was grace-filled.
Of course, not everyone sees the events of this week the same way.
Some see the events of this week as signs of moral decay and an assault on their worldview.
Publicly and privately, on television and radio and all over social media, they ask, “Where will it all end?”
Rush Limbaugh predicted that once the Confederate flag goes, the American flag will be next. The opponents of gay marriage had all sorts of dire predictions. Most of them are not repeatable in polite company, but they believe we are on a slippery slope and they believe that God will destroy the country in righteous judgment unless we reverse course.
But seriously, where will it all end?
Jesus had an answer to that question.
It will end in that strange and wonderful place called the Kingdom of God. It will end in a place where the poor are lifted up, the lame walk and the blind see, where everyone has enough and no one has too much, where the stranger is welcome, and everyone has a place at the table.
We are not there, yet. But this past week gave us reason to dare to hope that we are moving in that direction.