New Hymns for the Lectionary
Proper 17C - Gospel

The Best Seats
TEXT: Mark Ryman (2004) based on Luke 14:1,7-14.
Winchester Old" by Thomas Est (1540-1609).

What should we do when going to
a joyous wedding feast
but happ'ly eat with humbleness,
deeming oneself the least?

Your Christ is always Lord of all -
even in one's own home.
Why would we feign to take his place
by sitting on a throne?

Each time we place ourselves on high
we dishonor the Lord,
who let others sit higher than
himself at any board.

Instead, just take the lowest place
and be invited up
to higher honor, higher life;
there with our Lord we'll sup.

Our station in life matters not
when Christ sits by his Bride.
Take comfort knowing Jesus sits
at his own Father's side.

The Lesson - Luke 14:1,7-14

       Jesus is invited to a feast at a Pharisee’s home. Though, even in the eyes of so-called moderns, he is the most important person in the house, he does not presume to a seat of prominence. In fact he seems to be purposely placed at the board with a man badly swollen with edema or dropsy. He also seems to be under the scrutiny of the Pharisees—who presumably have invited him merely in the hopes of catching Jesus at some mistake in the Jewish law. Sit Jesus next to a suffering man on the Sabbath. It’s a setup.
       They believe they have caught him when Jesus heals the swollen man. In their legalistic minds, this healing was not allowed on the Sabbath and so they believe they have caught Jesus breaking the Mosaic law. But Jesus had already found them out. They had broken a more important law. Jesus asked these experts of Jewish law and social convention why they clamored for the best seats in the house and gave their guests poor seating. In so doing, Jesus introduced a
higher law.

© 2004, Mark E. Ryman

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Mark E. Ryman