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September 17, 2023

Our Dresses Are Made from the Whole Fabric of Our Lives

Pastor KJ Kim

Matthew 22: 1-14

We usually dress nicely and comfortably on Sundays, which may be why we react so strongly to today’s story in the passage about the underdressed guest. What did the king expect in today’s story? No one walks around in wedding robes just in case they happen to be invited to a royal banquet.

Some biblical scholars say that wedding hosts provided garments for their guests in those days like some fancy restaurants keep a spare jacket and tie on-hand for dinner guests who show up in shirt sleeves. If that was the case, then the spotlight shifts from the king to the guest. Why did he refuse the robe that was offered to him?

Today’s story is not just a story. It is an elaborate allegory in which everything has a deeper meaning. One of the lessons we can learn from today’s story is “Come as you are; No fancy clothes; No RSVP.” However, this invitation does not mean we may do as we please. The more essential lesson we must remember is that we have been invited to feast with God and the people of God, so we should rise to the occasion.

Again, I am not talking about clothes, but the underdressed guest did not rise to the occasion by refusing to change his clothes that the banquet host could have freely offered. Although this story addressed a very particular situation in the early church's life, it happens every Sunday right here.

Like the undressed guests, some of us have rolled in here without thinking much about what kind of banquet we enter into. Some of us have just shown up to hang out to chat a little bit, give a little bit, participate a little bit, serve a little bit, pray and worship a little bit while we have refused to change our whole selves—refusing to surrender our ego, pride, thought, and view; refusing to share our time, resources, and wealth; refusing to welcome and love others, especially those who have different view, beliefs, and ideas, just like the underdressed refused to change their clothes that host could have freely offered.

The underdressed guest thought the king was just looking for warm bodies and was happy just to show up. However, God is not looking for warm bodies. God is looking for wedding guests who will rise to the occasion and prepare the wedding banquet for others.

The world does not need churchgoers but people of faith, hope, and peace who can be still, persistent, and consistent on Sundays and Mondays. We can do that in shorts and running shoes, as well as we can do it in suits, jeans, and cowboy boots because our wedding robes are not made out of denim or silk. Our wedding robes are made from the whole fabric of our lives, using patterns God calls us to do—patterns of justice, forgiveness, loving-kindness, and peace.

Thanks be to God.

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