Tony Campolo once said that “the kingdom of God is a party!” Insofar as that goes, I agree: the kingdom of God is a party. In the message linked above, Dr. Campolo uses Deuteronomy 14 as his text, as the basis for his proclamation. Again, I agree–imagine all the the Jewish believers bringing their tithes to Jerusalem to “spend the money for whatever you desire-oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.” (Deut. 14:26). Sounds like a party to me.
What I wonder though, if I had a bird’s eye view, is what the long lines of people looked like from the air.
Must have been quite a procession.
Imagine people–young, old, male, female–of all shapes and sizes, animals in tow. The bleating of sheep, the lowing of cattle, the cries of children.
Maybe it looked like a parade?
I say this because I recently re-read Donald Miller’s excellent, deceptively simple book, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. It’s all about telling better stories with the lives we live. A part of the narrative details a New Year’s parade that Don’s friend, Bob Goff started in his San Diego neighborhood. The only rule for this parade? You must participate. There are to be no spectators. And like the Jews of old, feasting followed after the procession.
This parade struck me as an incredibly apt metaphor for life (I suspect this is what Don wished to convey in his narrative). But it also bears–I think–great applicability to the church of Jesus Christ. In Mark 16:15-16, Jesus said, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” We know this as the “Great Commission.”
What this means is that we are to be about the business of inviting people to participate with us in the life that Jesus–through His death and resurrection–makes available to all. There are to be no spectators. 1 Corinthians 3:9 tells us “we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” How cool is that–we who work with God get to invite more folks in to work with Him, too!
The Scriptures tell us that someday we who follow Jesus will partake in the “marriage supper of the lamb”–a heavenly party the likes of which has never been seen this side of eternity (though we have hints like the “Year of Jubilee”).
Want to get in on God’s party? Join the parade!