Persona Non Grata

not welcome

My daughter and I had the opportunity to hear Eva Kor speak at a local college this week. If you are not familiar with Mrs. Kor here is a brief summary of her story

 “Eva is a survivor of the Holocaust. In 1944 Eva along with her mother, father, and four sisters were loaded into a cattle car packed with other Jewish prisoners and transported to an Auschwitz death camp. Eva who was only 10 years old and her twin sister were separated from her family and under the direction of Dr. Joseph Mengele used as human guinea pigs in genetic    experiments. Thousands of twins were subjected to these experiments, most died. Eva became extremely ill during this time but she fought to stay alive and help her sister survive”.

The tickets were free but it is the policy of the college where Mrs. Kor was to speak to give priority seating to students first.  Any seats that are left are made available to the general public. It was our hope to be able to get two of those seats. I didn’t expect a large turnout but was pleasantly surprised at quite a number of students who began to arrive well in advance of the 7 pm starting time. The number of students continued to grow, at 6:55 it was announced the auditorium was full but there might be seats available in the balcony. There wasn’t.

It was disappointing  not getting in.

Especially when you are standing by the door watching all those who had the right invitation walk right in.

Being told at the last minute “Sorry all the seats are taken, sold out”

As I thought about our missed opportunity today  I was reminded of a time in the future another event I don’t want to miss, a celebration. Unlike the event at the college there will be room for everyone at this celebration.

“The king organized a great feast,  a huge wedding banquet. 

He invited everyone he knew.”  Matthew 22:1

What a party it will be. A wedding,  a feast, a homecoming, a reunion, all the happy events we have ever known and better still….

Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder:


“Praise the Lord!
    For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
Let us be glad and rejoice,
    and let us give honor to him.
For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
    and his bride has prepared herself.
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”
    For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.” Revelation 19:6-9

rejected 2

The King had invited everyone to a great celebration and it looked as if it was headed to a happy ending until verse 11-13 Matthew 22

Let me set the stage

The first guests invited refused to come.

The second invitation is issued with attention called to all that has gone into the preparing the feast

The invited guests refuse to come a second time and this time they mistreat and kill the messengers

The king enraged by their disrespect destroys the city and the people in it

He instructs his servants to go out and invite anyone they find

The party is filled with guests the king is happy until he spots the one person improperly dressed, without a wedding garment

“The king looked around the wedding party with glee, but he spotted one man 

who was not dressed appropriately. In fact, he was dressed rather plainly, 

in clothes not at all fitting for a fine nuptial feast.

King: Kind sir, how did you get in here without a proper suit of wedding clothes?

The man was speechless. He had been invited in off the street, after all!  

Getting no response, the king told his servants,

King: Tie him up, and throw him out into the outer darkness, 

where there is weeping and grinding of teeth.”

Not a happy ending for this guy. What is the importance of the clothes, the wedding garment? The parable closes with the general statement v.14, “many are invited but few are chosen”. To understand this and connect the “wedding garment’ to it we can read it this way.

Many are called or invited out of this world, but few out of this world are chosen by God to be part of the feast, the celebration. The invitation to the celebration and the choice of who gets to stay are not identical. The invitation comes to all and it may be outwardly accepted, even a choice made to sit down at the party as with the man without the proper clothes. But without the wedding garment of grace, that clothes us with the righteousness we could never provide for ourselves we cannot stay, we are not chosen.**

It has always been through His grace, His righteousness that we are invited into His kingdom, to the celebration. The one in the parable who arrived in his own clothes could have experienced grace and acceptance had he asked “what should I do, where do I find the proper garment?”

grace ephes

In the time to come we can have assurance of our place at the celebration by knowing we have been brought near by His grace……

Ephesians 1:4-8 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.  He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

 Ephesians 1:16-18  I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

 Ephesians 2:8-9 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Luke 5:32 I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.”

Photo credit-Shutterstock

**from “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” Alfred Edersheim


“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”. I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full. “ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”. ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been. I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten. I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis. I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change. I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life. If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad. One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather. One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness. All part of a story that has had many twists and turns. I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs "As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles" And so it is true for me. But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed. The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins! "" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns". Philippians 1:6 My hope is that as we all run our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written. And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you. Further up and further in!

7 Responses to Persona Non Grata

  1. I did know about that. Forgot the name of Ruth’s blog . . . but thank you!

  2. Great post. I would have been very disappointed to miss the event with Eva, too, but like you said, there is a bigger event coming! And because of grace I have no worries. I’m not going to miss that one! Praise be to the One who makes that possible. Hey, you mentioned on my blog that your read my post on A Heroine’s Journey. I’m not sure where to find that blog. Could you give me the url?

  3. Pingback: My Article Read (9-25-2014) | My Daily Musing

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