Take Your Place at God’s Banquet
  • Monday, April 9, 2012

By Daniel H. Martins

Easter is an occasion of great celebration — Christ is risen from the dead. It is an occasion of great thanksgiving — death, the mortal enemy of humankind, has been swallowed up in victory. It is an occasion of great joy — death has been declawed and defanged, and we need no longer fear it. It is an occasion of eating and drinking and making merry — we have been freed from the grip of sin.

This is an occasion for singing and dancing — Universal Evil itself has been sentenced to oblivion; its days are numbered, and when it goes into the pit of destruction it will carry with it all fear, anxiety, pain, shame, anger — in short, all suffering will be sucked into the eternal black hole of God’s redeeming and undying love. This is an occasion of great hope — all across the world, people will renounce their attachment to the realm of sin and death and embrace the kingdom of life and health and peace; they will be born again in the waters of Holy Baptism; they will be anointed with the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever.

Have you kept a holy Lent? Have you been faithful in prayer, fasting, and self-denial? Have you read and meditated on God’s holy Word? If so, there is a banquet table prepared for you, overflowing with God’s abundant blessings; come, and take your place. Has Lent been a struggle for you? Have you lapsed from your rule, or fallen into sin? Have you been neglectful of your obligation to private prayer and public worship? If so, there is a banquet table prepared for you, overflowing with God’s abundant blessings; come, and take your place. Have you totally ignored Lent, completely blown it off? If so, there is a banquet table prepared for you, overflowing with God’s abundant blessings; come, and take your place.

Have you lived a long life, and known God’s mercies to be richly laid out before you whenever you have needed them? If so, there is a banquet table prepared for you, overflowing with God’s abundant blessings; come, and take your place. Are you in mid-life, and feeling yourself stretched by having to attend to the needs of both your parents and your children at the same time? If so, there is a banquet table prepared for you, overflowing with God’s abundant blessings; come, and take your place. Are you a young person, with more plans than memories, and full of both anxieties and aspirations? If so, there is a banquet table prepared for you, overflowing with God’s abundant blessings; come, and take your place.

Are you filled with sorrow? Are you grieving a loss — the loss of a loved one, the loss of a dream, the loss of an ideal? If so, there is a banquet table prepared for you, overflowing with God’s abundant blessings; come, and take your place. Are you tortured by doubt and skepticism, wanting to believe, but not finding yourself able to? If so, there is a banquet table prepared for you, overflowing with God’s abundant blessings; come, let the faith of those around you carry you to your place. Are you wracked by guilt, feeling yourself unworthy of God’s love, unworthy to even come under the roof of his house? If so, there is a banquet table prepared for you, overflowing with God’s abundant blessing and infinite merciful forgiveness; come, and take your place — there is absolutely nothing you can do to make God love you any more, and nothing you can do to make God love you any less.

The feast is ready. The table has been prepared. The price has been paid in full. The invitation to the banquet has been sent out. There is a banquet table prepared for us, overflowing with God’s abundant blessings; come, let us take our places. This is an occasion of great celebration — Christ is risen from the dead. Alleluia.

The Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins is Bishop of Springfield.

Take Your Place


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