Sermon: The Feast Is Ready to Begin!

Sermon: The Feast Is Ready to Begin!

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19th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A:  

Join us for in-person or online worship this Saturday night or Sunday morning. We miss you!

Saturday 5:30 pm Contemporary Service

Sunday 10:00 am Traditional Worship Service 

Sermon:  The Feast Is Ready to Begin!

Isaiah 25:1-9
Psalm 23
Philippians 4:1-9
Matthew 22:1-14

Our Saviour Lutheran Church of Warrenton, VA
The Reverend Terri E. L. Church

How do you fix a jack-o-lantern? With a pumpkin patch!

I know, it’s what Marian Rognlien called a 5-year-old joke when she shared it, but that doesn’t keep you from giggling! That’s a taste of one ritual that has kept me sane through this year of isolation and separation. Each week a group of ladies check in by Facebook Messenger each Friday, saying “It’s Friday—who can come tonight?!” Those who can grab our beverage of choice, pull up to our computers or phones and chat about life, love, and keeping your head up when life wants to pull it down. We share jokes, updates about our families, occasional church news, and of course, prayer concerns. At first the online aspect of it seemed somehow “less-than-real-life” and technical difficulties have certainly plagued our chats; however, it was what we could do, so we did it. Turns out, we’ve found advantages to “gathering” online for a quick update, and that moment has become a lifeline, a point of hope to enter the weekend knowing that God connects us to each other. We’ve grown close.

Although not a requirement, one thing in many of our glasses is wine, which ties rather nicely to our Bible lessons for this weekend! Did you hear what the prophet Isaiah said was coming for the world one day? Listen again:

6On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. …
8he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.”

The message is clear: a beautiful day is coming! A day when tears won’t be needed anymore, when death is defeated, when all the nations of the Earth will celebrate together that God loves us and saves us. So, so great! What a message of comfort for those who are in distress. What a message of comfort for us now!

However, as I was looking at it anew this past week, I read the old King James Version. It has some different words that I didn’t understand.

6And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.”

What exactly is “a feast of wines on the lees”? So, naturally, I “phoned a friend” to find out! We here at Our Saviour are fortunate to have experts on wines among us—Cheryl and Al Kellert, the vintners who own Gray Ghost Vineyards!

Cheryl was delighted to catch up and fill me in a bit. She said that ‘wines on the lees’ referred to keeping the wine in the yeast longer. You must stir the wine regularly so that yeast doesn’t settle at the bottom of the barrel or tank. You want the yeast continually incorporated into the wine, which develops the flavor and keeps it from spoiling. “Wines on the lees well refined” develop a richness, so when you taste them you might say a Chardonnay is “buttery” or a red is “velvety,” like a good dark chocolate. The extra time and effort of this process raises both the taste as well as the cost of making these fine wines.

Therefore, a dinner that includes “wines on the lees” and “rich foods filled with marrow is quite a party! No matter what you think about wine or meat, this image in the Bible describes a meal filled with the utmost in quality, a party worth putting on your calendar and dressing up to attend! No wonder it is an image used to describe eternal life in heaven and the celebrations we will have when God sets the world right at the end! No wonder we describe our own Communion meal as a feast as it points us toward that coming feast.

Coming feast. Did you catch what is involved in making those great wines? Fine ingredients matched with extra work, extra care, extra waiting. Waiting. The feast hasn’t started yet; the wine isn’t ready; we have to wait. Our bread and wine are a “foretaste of the feast to come”!

It is a comfort to know that day with no more crying or pain or death is coming, isn’t it? We’d love to have it now! But can’t we have a feast now? One of the Friday night ladies reminded me that we don’t have to wait to be comforted, we don’t have to wait to celebrate God’s amazing gifts, we don’t have to wait to connect with each other. She says, “I’m seeing God at work every day since this COVID thing hit us! It’s just amazing,” she said. “The creativity involved in this whole thing! How we’ve managed to keep things like worship, and learning, and serving our neighbors going. The way everybody has changed they way we do things but still manage to keep us all connected is such a gift!” She went on, “And even online, we have been able to experience intimacy. We just have to show up and God connects us.”

I think that is a bit of what Jesus is talking about in this crazy parable from Matthew. It’s a king’s wedding banquet, but the only way to enjoy the feast is to show up and connect. Just like the guests invited to that feast, our lives are busy, with businesses and families and illnesses taking our time and energy. However, God invites us to feast together in Jesus’ name—all of us, rich or poor, Black or White, in person or online. Just trust in Jesus, and he will connect us to others!

Some of you are watching these services at your homes, and we love that modern technology makes that possible! It is amazing that the Spirit allows us to worship even when apart! But the feast that God invites us to goes deeper. You want to know Christ and feel the comfort of the Good Shepherd? Connect for more than worship! Make our virtualfellowship times a regular part of your life. Join us on Zoom tonight for our Second Saturday Social, come Sunday after worship to Virtual Fellowship, be a part of Dave’s or Pastor Michael’s Bible classes on Thursday—the links to all these things are in the weekly news on our website ( You don’t have to be a member of this congregation to connect with other Christians in Jesus’ name. You don’t even have to be in Virginia! Take us with you! You don’t have to know the Bible, and don’t expect the conversations to be all holy and such. We talk about life. Real life. Our lives. And when we talk about Jesus, it is to remind us that God loves us forever and will never let us go.

The feast is ready to begin! So, if someone invites you to a small group either online or in person, say yes and connect! When you have a conversation in a small group gathering you build relationships. Even online there is intimacy. Wherever Jesus is present, when we gather in his name, we are reminded of what St. Paul says in Philippians, chapter 4: The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Liturgical material © 2017 Augsburg Fortress; used by permission of Augsburg Fortress, #SAS009239. Copyright Acknowledgments (CCLI License # 2800659 and One License # 710443-A) for print and broadcast.

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