Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Banquet

Over Mexico City, in the dead of night, a C-130 Hercules drops leaflets into the night sky. As they flutter to the ground, they fall almost exclusively into the slums. A few thousand drift onto the balconies of the high-rise apartments and onto the University campus. Most however land in the door stoops where drug addicts doze and prostitutes linger.

“Free Food
Free clean clothes
Free showers and
A warm bed for everyone
Free shelter and Genuine love
beyond imagination
Come as you are.

The next night, at the address given on the pamphlet, men and women of all ages begin to drift across the lawn. All the lights are on in the mansion. A cool breeze greets the guests as they bend to gaze expectantly through the open doors. Attendants greet the guests and offer them cool wash cloths and a change of clothes. Before the guests, stand tables heaping full of the choicest foods.

As laughter begins to fill the evening, one of the guests approaches the Host with a question.

“Sir,” he asks, “Why is it that everyone here is poor? I don’t see one grin that isn’t toothless. I don’t see one head of hair that isn’t greasy. And if you don’t mind me saying so, it’s good that the doors and windows are open because the fact that we don’t have running water in our shacks is becoming quite obvious. Why in the world did you invite us and not those who live in the nice houses? Why didn’t you invite professors and government leaders? Why didn’t you invite those who are rich and beautiful and intelligent? Why do you want us?

The Host of this strange event smiles at the man and sighs. You know what my friend? Even if they were invited, those who see themselves as beautiful and intelligent and wealthy wouldn’t come to this event. In fact, a few of them got the invitation but not a single one showed up. You see, they don’t think they need what I have to offer. Their hands are full to overflowing with everything that they believe to be important in life. True, they don’t have love but they will believe till the end of their time on earth that love is something that can be purchased. Those kind of people have neither the time nor the inclination to accept my offer. So why bother with them? Besides, my friend, I prefer to be around those who are humble, and genuine. I prefer to be around those who appreciate my generosity, not those who see themselves as self-sufficient. That's why I always say, Blessed are the poor, and the desperate and those who hunger and search for righteousness. So go my brother, enjoy tonight and enjoy the rest of your life. Tomorrow I have work for you to do.”

“What work do you have sir? I’m willing to help you any way that I can, but I don’t have any skills.”

“As you notice my friend, even among your own people, not everyone had the courage to come tonight. They’re suspicious, unbelieving, scared. You and the other people here tonight need to go and tell them that this invitation is for them also. You need to tell them that it’s real, it’s free and that it’s good beyond imagination. Now go. Enjoy your meal. Enjoy a warm bath and a clean bed. I love you. I will always love you and take care of you. I am proud to consider you not just my friend. I consider you a new member of my very family.”

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