Family Activity

Kingdom Party

Where is your place at the dinner table? Seating arrangements can define a person's place in the family. During the time of Jesus, there was a pecking order, not only for family meals, but for guests at banquets.

Banquets were given not only to celebrate an event or holiday. These meals gathered the social and political supporters of a patron. The patron would use the banquet to cement relations with his clients. He would also define the place of each client based upon his seat. The closer the client sat to the patron, the more important the client became in the eyes of his patron.

Jesus addressed issue of seating arrangements with two messages, one for the guest, one for the host. To the guest, Jesus warned against overreaching. Don't jockey for a higher position. In fact, sit below one's rightful position, so the patron-host can honor the humble guest by giving him a higher place. So, Jesus preached humility as a means to glory.

To the host, Jesus advised a different kind of banquet. Instead of using a feast to network, arm-twist, or entreat your guests for favors and pay-backs, throw a party that mirrored God's Kingdom. Feed and serve the poor, the sick, and the stranger. They can't repay the debt. But God can.

Stress both points in Luke's gospel with a "Kingdom Dinner." First, instead of setting at your regular places, draw places at random. But, make sure to honor the person who sits at the head of the table. Second, plan a simple meal. But, set an extravagant table with food you intend to share with the poor. Use the honored place at the table and lavish table to share Luke 14:7-14 and to stress God's table in his Kingdom.