This is Friday of the fourth week of Lent. The reading is Matthew 22, with a focus on verses 1-14. (If you want to listen, scroll to the bottom of that page for the audio links.)
Selecting from an abundance of wonderful material in this chapter (the greatest commandments, verses 34-40; paying taxes to Caesar, verses 15-22; questions on the resurrection, verses 23-33) Wright focuses on the parable of the wedding feast, in which the King invites people to the wedding of his son, but they make excuses and abuse his messengers in the first place, and then show up improperly dressed in the second place.
Wright says ” By this stage it’s clear that . . . the original picture has more or less disappeared, and we are left with a more direct statement. The king has now invited the whole world to the wedding party originally planned for Israel. But those who attend as part of this suddenly enlarged guest-list must take care to turn up in the proper outfit. . . what he is saying, as he does in one way or another throughout, is that just because God’s wedding party has been thrown open to all and sundry — to Gentiles as well as Jews, as Paul never tired of insisting — that doesn’t mean that once they’ve accepted the invitation they can carry on as though it wasn’t God’s wedding party. All are welcome; but all must dress appropriately.”
This proper dress, I would add, is the righteousness of Christ. As Paul says “Ephesians 4:22-24. . . put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Here’s one of my favorite funny old songs on this text: I Cannot Come
And while we’re on the subject of fun (and the greatest commandment,) here is my favorite ‘shema.’