The scripture passage in Luke 14:15-24 is the first thing I thought of when I read this story about the family of a bride whose wedding was cancelled. Instead of wasting the food and the money spent on the venue, the bride’s family invited the city’s homeless to enjoy the reception. Here is what Luke 14 says:
When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’ ”
This story in the New Testament is about Jesus wanting to bring everyone into his kingdom. He did not want to only include the important and the rich; he wanted to make sure that all people felt welcomed to his feast.
The Duane family didn’t set out to feed the homeless population in Sacramento, but when it became obvious that they would lose the money they spent on the wedding reception, they made a decision to include those who would appreciate a good meal and a celebratory atmosphere. So after the word got out to the homeless community there, 0ver 90 people showed up to enjoy a good meal in a nice place.
The bride’s mother, Kari Duane, said Sunday that rather than cancel the reception, they invited Sacramento’s homeless for a once in a lifetime meal Saturday at the Citizen Hotel, one of the city’s finest venues.
Duane said her 27-year-old daughter called her Monday to tell her she and her fiance had decided not go through with the wedding. Soon after, the family decided to share the nonrefundable event with the less fortunate.
“Even though my husband and I were feeling very sad for our daughter, it was heartwarming to see so many people be there and enjoy a meal,” Duane said.
She said they had already paid for a reception that would have hosted 120 guests. About 90 homeless single people, grandparents and whole families with newborns showed up and enjoyed a meal that included appetizers, salad, gnocchi, salmon, and even tri-tip. Some even dressed up for the occasion.
Erika Craycraft arrived with her husband and five children.
“To lose out on something so important to yourself and then give it to someone else is really giving, really kind,” Craycraft said.
When an opportunity to do something generous for those in need comes along and you have the means to do it, yes is always the answer. There is no question that this kind of hospitality is in God’s will.