*Inspired by the words spoken by Al Mohler, Russell Moore, Denny Burk, Tim Challies, John Piper, RC Sproul, and John MacArthur, to name a few.
Tables are intricately set, each place setting personalized for the individual seated behind it. Someone has been expecting the arrival of everyone here. Smiles, tears, laughter and hushed conversation are enjoyed all around; people telling stories of the journeys which brought them to this banquet hall.
In one corner, a group of men are scribbling in scrolls, conferring with one another from time to time, all manner of serious expressions on their faces.
Eventually, these men scatter throughout the room, stopping by each table.
As they peruse various tables, they pick up place cards, fingering them with discernment. Some they choose to set back down where they were originally laid out, but others are slipped inside pockets.
“Hey, what are you doing with my card?” a man asks.
“Do you call yourself a gay Christian?” questions the man standing over the table.
“Yes, yes I do,” replies the young man.
“Impossible,” scoffs the gentleman, and he moves on to another table.
At this point, the laughter around the tables has stopped. Several people at each table have had their place cards removed by the men carrying the scrolls. There is concern, anger, and confusion rising to great heights, filling the room with a heaviness which feels like it could snuff the life out of everyone present.
“Why are you doing this to us?” says a female pastor.
“You’re not operating within God’s created order,” shrugs a male pastor.
“Don’t you know we’re Christians too?” says a Catholic man.
“The Catholic Church is an apostate body,” says an old, gray haired man, snatching up all the cards in front of the Catholics around him.
“Hey, I’m not sure why you took my card away. I’m not gay and I’m not a Catholic and I’m definitely not a pastor. Truth is, I don’t even go to church,” a woman confesses.
“Ah, yes, you. Well, you don’t go to church, and you encourage others not to go to church if they “can’t” go. You fill the internet with malice and hatred towards God’s people,” one of the standing men reprimands.
“But” she falters in her response, tears forming in her eyes, “My church was abusive, it wasn’t a safe space for me.”
Others, men and women, gather around her with a rallying cry of, “Me too, that’s my story.”
“Give us our cards back!” shouts the displaced crowd.
“No, you people are hostile, deceived, and continue to hurt the cause of the Gospel. Unless you begin to live as we believe Scripture commands, then there’s nothing more we can do for you. We want you here with us, trust us on that, we love you all, but you have to understand, your life must be lived on our terms.”
And with that, the removed place cards are thrown into a large fire.
The people, who have been singled out as incompatible with the men at the table, have a decision to make. Do they stay where they are unwanted or do they leave, hoping someday this terrible event will be made right?
Some leave and some stay, but eventually, the Spirit, the host of the banquet arrives.
The Spirit notices the empty places, the preparations which have been destroyed by the men with the scrolls.
“Why have you removed the names of those I have prepared a place for?” the Spirit asks, grieved.
The men with the scrolls cannot speak; silence swallows them.
And with that, the Spirit goes to each upset and empty place and begins to make all things right once again.
Love has won.