Clothed in the Righteousness of Christ, We Partake of His Wedding Feast
By His Cross and Resurrection, the Lord has swallowed up death forever, and by His Gospel He “will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth” (Is. 25:8). Therefore, “let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation” (Is. 25:9). On the Mountain of the Lord of hosts—in His Church on earth, as in the kingdom of heaven—He has made “for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine” (Is. 25:6). It is the royal “wedding feast” of the Son of God, “and everything is ready” (Matt. 22:1, 4). Thus, His servants are sent into the highways and bi-ways to invite and gather as many as they find, “both good and bad,” to fill the wedding hall with guests (Matt. 22:8–10). In Holy Baptism, He clothes them all in the “wedding garment” of His own perfect righteousness (Matt. 22:11). Therefore, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God,” and “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4–6).
Almighty God, You invite us to trust in You for our salvation. Deal with us not in the severity of Your judgment but by the greatness of Your mercy; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Prayer for the mission of the Church: Almighty God, You have called Your Church to witness that in Christ You have reconciled us to Yourself. Grant that by Your Holy Spirit we may proclaim the good news of Your salvation so that all who hear it may receive the gift of salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .
Prayer for those outside the Church: Almighty and everlasting God, You desire not the death of a sinner but that all would repent and live. Hear our prayers for those outside the Church. Take away their iniquity, and turn them from their false gods to You, the living and true God. Gather them into Your holy Church to the glory of Your name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .
Prayer for those who are separated from the Church: O God, protect the tempted, the distressed, and the erring, and gently guide them. By Your great goodness bring them into the way of peace and truth. Graciously regard all who are in trouble, danger, temptation, or bondage to sin, and those to whom death draws near. In Your mercy draw them to Yourself; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .
Prayer for right reception of the Lord's Supper: Lord Jesus, You invite all who are burdened with sin to come to You for rest. We now come at Your invitation to the heavenly feast, which You have provided for Your children on earth. Preserve us from impenitence and unbelief, cleanse us from our unrighteousness, and clothe us with the righteousness purchased with Your blood. Strengthen our faith, increase our love and hope, and assure us a place at Your heavenly table, where we will eat eternal manna and drink of the river of Your pleasure forever and ever. Hear us, Jesus, for Your own sake.
Preparation for next week, Proper 23
Monday, 9 October 2017—Isaiah 61:10; Antiphon, Psalm 146:2—The Gospel reading for next Sunday is the parable of the Wedding Feast, and the Introit helps establish a theme, by bringing in images relating to a wedding and the wedding garments. It speaks of us being clothed with garments of salvation. This same sort of imagery is used in Revelation, when it is said that the saints clothed in white robes have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. This is rich sacramental imagery, portraying Baptism; the parable of the Wedding Feast has similar sacramental imagery, but that of the Lord’s Supper, the Sacrament of the Altar.
Tuesday, 10 October 2017—Psalm 23—The psalm for the day, the well-known 23rd Psalm, also has sacramental imagery, as we are told that the LORD leads us beside still waters, restoring our souls, and leading us in the paths of righteousness. Holy Baptism restores our souls; the Word of God leads us in the paths of righteousness. Later in the psalm, there is, again, the image of a feast being prepared for us who are righteous on account of being baptized into the name of Jesus.
Wednesday, 11 October 2017—Isaiah 25:6–9—The prophecy of Isaiah looks forward to the Last Day and portrays eternity in heaven as a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. One of the post-communion collects refers to the Sacrament of the Altar as a foretaste of the feast to come. Indeed, it is a real partaking of the feast in heaven, with angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven, those who have gone before us and died in the faith. The only difference is, so long as we live on the earth, we have to return our daily lives, while the feast goes on eternally. Therefore, we continue in the collect, Keep us firm in the true faith throughout our pilgrimage that, on the day of His coming, we may, together with all Your saints, celebrate the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom which has no end.
Thursday, 12 October 2017—Philippians 4:4–13—St Paul urges us to Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Rejoice, for the Lord has washed us clean in Holy Baptism, clothing us in white garments, and inviting us to the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom, which has no end. He reminds us that the Lord is at hand. The Lord is, indeed, at hand; He is as near as His Word and Sacrament. Wherever the Word is preached in its truth and purity and the Sacraments are rightly administered, there the Lord is, dispensing the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.
Friday, 13 October 2017—Matthew 22:1–14—As we near the end of the Church Year, so the readings come closer to the end of our Lord’s earthly life, and begin to reflect on the Last Day, when we shall come into His heavenly kingdom. There are a number of themes in this parable. Those wedding guests who shunned the king’s invitation may be compared to the Jews, to who the Word of the Lord was given and whom the Lord chose as heirs of His kingdom. By and large, they have rejected the long-promised Messiah, and have no place at the eternal wedding feast in heaven. Likewise, those who come in unprepared, without a wedding garment, without a garment of salvation, trying to enter the feast of their own accord. These, too, will be rejected, for no one makes himself worthy of the kingdom of heaven; it is the Lord and King Himself who gives us the garment of righteousness.
Saturday, 14 October 2017—The hymn of the day is A Multitude Comes from the East and the West (LSB #510). It reflects the message of Jesus’ parable of the Wedding Feast. Those present at the heavenly banquet will come from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages (Rev. 7:9). At the heavenly marriage feast, we will dine with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all who have trusted in the Lord for their salvation, who have placed their trust in the merits of the promised Messiah, our Lord Jesus.
Lectionary summary on front page from LCMS Commission on Worship
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Photo © Greg Gallmeyer