While having a conversation one Sunday morning with Rev. Kristin, I signed my name to her clipboard without paying attention. After looking up what verse I had unknowingly agreed to, I went to Rev. Kristin and asked "What is not allowed at my funeral?" She looked at me and said "Sheep." (Here lies one of the benefits of making a friend out of clergy.) We both looked at the Bible I held in my hand, opened to Luke 15:1-7. She offered to allow me to change verses, but I thought maybe this was a cosmic calling to be more open-minded. So I taped my reminder to my vanity mirror and openly sighed every time I looked at it for the next few weeks.
Knowing this parable, I feel strongly tied to our Lord who will risk much by taking the time to pursue the lost and broken. However, in reading this passage now, I am more stuck by the reaction of the Pharisees and teachers. Their insult and injury is palpable. I am reminded of something my Mother used to say to my sister and me when we were younger. "You don't go to a party for who is invited; you go for who invited you." This edict of Mother's led to a fair amount of teenage angst in our home. The Pharisees and teachers disgust is in that Jesus would welcome and eat with those whom they do not believe are worthy, and therefore expect them to also welcome and eat with these people if they want to stay at the table. Today this parable feels like a call to not condemn anyone at the Lord's Table, as we do not know what the Lord had to do to get them there.