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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kingdom

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

--Matthew 22:1-10

This passage has been on my mind the past few days. I think it is the only way to truly describe Christen and Christian's Peruvian wedding.

I'm sure the town hall in Magdalena had never seen a crowd gather like that which gathered for the civil ceremony on Friday morning. Friends from Young Life lined the walls. Christian's mother and siblings squeezed in through the back door as the ceremony started. Friends from El Refugio worked in the background to serve cookies and soda. But in the seats, in the place of honor, were the orphans from INABIF, their caregivers, and our disabled friends from Casa de Misercordia.

Christen said that she didn't think anyone came better dressed than Davico, who wore a worn out dress shirt and old pants with a winning smile.

Christen later told me about some of the family tensions that arose at the reception, how tempers flared, how some of her friends were mistreated, how relatives stormed out. How they had expected 130 guests and only 70 made it to the banquet. How Christen and Christian were left cleaning up the tables, still wearing their wedding clothes, after everyone had gone to bed. Of course, every large family gathering has moments of tension and conflict. But these were in the extreme. But even this is part of the Kingdom. The Kingdom doesn't come without pain. It comes to alleviate pain. The process itself, the Kingdom coming, may yet be painful.

But on Friday, the Kingdom came. It was visible among us, in our friends, and in the lives of Christen and Christian as they shared Christ through sharing their lives.

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