Day 308: Feast (A Poem Based on Matthew 22:1-14)

The Wedding Garment: Artist Unknown

11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:11)

I’ve always been a little rattled by the idea that someone could get thrown out if they didn’t have the right clothes on. But then I thought about the free gift of grace we are offered. If we don’t put on grace, but instead insist on self-righteousness, or self-justification, or legalistic religion, or anything else that we think would be a better fit, then we aren’t really part of the wedding party.

I wrote this poem in 2021, during a time when I was obsessed with the musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I’m absolutely not Lin-Manuel Miranda; and a white, middle-aged Baptist pastor has no business trying to write hip hop, but if you know the show, you might hear some of the rhyme scheme. Here goes:


The Ruler of the kingdom sent word to the nations: 
“My son’s getting married, come join the celebration!”
But some who were invited blew off the invitation
Inciting the Inviter to heights of aggravation

So he said to his servants, "There’s still room at the table. 
Let the deaf and dumb come, the stable and unstable." 
Then he sent them all out to the highways and the hedges
To talk the hopeless off ledges, and to bring back the dredges. 

Beleaguered they came, eager beggars at the feast
Filled the hall wall to wall with the last and the least

All the guests dressed their best in the clothes they'd been given 
But for one, tie undone, in the dark staying hidden
Wore his suit off the rack, turned his back on the Father
Thought his old threads were fine, so he couldn’t be bothered.

His mistaken miscalculation placed him back on the street
Clothes tattered and teeth chattering, missing the feast
Lesson learned, but what a turn this story has taken
Where’s the blessing? What’s the point that the message is making?  

It’s that you can’t crash a wedding if they’ve already invited you
But you can thumb your nose at the clothes that are provided you
An invitation to the nations-- all may come in
But if the best are self dressed, then they're thrown out again

So cast off your street clothes of pride and defiance
Your robe of self-righteousness, your rags of self-reliance
You’ll never do better than the threads you are getting
Just let the Groom dress you—relax.
Enjoy the wedding. 






Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: