|Theme:||Everyone is invited to God's celebration.|
|Object:||Party invitations, party hats and favors. Perhaps a cake to share with the children.|
|Scripture:||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, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. Matthew 22:9-10 (NIV)|
How many of you have ever given a party? Of course you have! We have all given a party at some time. Perhaps it was a birthday party, or a slumber party. Maybe you had a picnic or a costume party. No matter what kind of party you give, it is a lot of work to get ready for a party, isn't it? First, you have to decide what kind of a party you are going to have. Then you have to go out and buy the decorations or make them yourself. You have to plan what games you are going to play and make sure that you have all of the proper equipment for the games. Next you have to decide what you are going to serve and go to the store to buy refreshments. After you have made all the plans, you make a list of who you are going to invite and send out the invitations.
Have you ever planned a party and sent out the invitations, but no one showed up? Oh, I hope not! If that happened, how do you think it would make you feel? Would you be angry? Would your feelings be hurt? What do you think you might do?
Jesus once told about a king who threw a party, but none of the people he invited showed up for his party. In Jesus' story, the king was going to have a party for his Son who was getting married. Since he was a king, and this was his only son, you can imagine that it was going to be quite a celebration and it was a tremendous honor to be invited!
All of the plans had been made, the food was prepared, the invitations had been sent. The day of the celebration came, but no one showed up! The king sent his servants to see where the people were and why they had not come to his celebration. The people all began to make excuses about how busy they were.
The king was very upset, so he told his servants to go out into the streets and invite everyone they saw to come to his son's wedding celebration. They did exactly what the king told them to do and the Bible tells us that the wedding hall was filled with guests.
In this story, the King is God and, of course, Jesus is His Son. God is going to have a great celebration for His Son in Heaven and we have all been invited. I can't imagine why, but some people will turn down God's invitation. You've been invited -- I hope you will accept God's invitation.
Dear Father, thank you for inviting us to join you in your heavenly celebration. If there are any here today who have not accepted your invitation, we pray that today will be the day. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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