On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines. —Isaiah 25:6
I sometimes feel we preachers and teachers must come up with new sermons all the time. It seems terribly unfair because Jesus basically had one sermon that he just kept saying in different ways. Jesus announced the presence of what he called “the kingdom” or the “reign” of God. He kept saying “it is like” or “it may be compared to” (see Matthew 13), and he used stories, parables and metaphors so that we could recognize what was obvious to him but not so obvious to us. Religion can only use the language of metaphor because we are pointing to transcendent things. Jesus told us to pray that this mystery would be as obvious to us “on earth as it is in heaven.”
The banquet described in the Isaiah reading, for example, is clearly now and also later. Jesus was asking us to see, to see fully, and to see that the inside of things is always bigger than the mere outside. Basically, you can translate “the kingdom” as “the Big Picture,” which is how I will use it here. The kingdom of God, or reign of God, is how things objectively, truly and finally are. Jesus is always inviting us to live in the final and full picture, and not to get lost in momentary dramas, hurts or agendas. In Latin we used to say sub specie aeternitate, that is, to ask ourselves every day, “In the light of eternity will this really matter?”
There is one Great Drama that utterly relativizes and situates all our daily emotions, hurts, addictions and plans. When you abide in the Godself, the small self is always seen as limited, insecure and good—but still passing away. We must eat from another table to know who we really and finally are. When we can live inside this great inner feast of life, as described so beautifully by Isaiah, most passing things become exactly that—passing things inside of the Great Banquet of inner aliveness in God.
What study, if any, have you done of the true self and the false self? You might wish to listen to my audio presentation True Self, False Self, available through Audible from Franciscan Media.