Written by Daniel Hazard
Excerpt from Luke 14:15-24
Jesus said to him, "Someone gave a great dinner and invited many… But they all alike began to make excuses."
Reflection by Martin B. Copenhaver
Early in our marriage my wife, Karen, and I got tickets to see The Elephant Man, which at the time was the hottest show on Broadway.
At dinner before the show, I took the tickets out of my pocket. I'm with Charlie Brown, who said, "Happiness is holding the tickets in your hand." But as I looked at the tickets, my face went ashen. They were good seats alright, but the tickets were for Tuesday night and this was Wednesday. We were a day late.
We quickly paid the bill and headed over to the theater. I showed the tickets to the ticket taker at the door and told him the story of how we ended up with tickets for the wrong night. Before I could get very far, however, he pointed to a corner of the lobby and said, "Wait over here for Miss Morris."
After a few minutes passed, I saw the ticket taker talking to others and then pointing to the corner where we were standing. Tentatively, we began to share our stories. One couple left their tickets at home. A woman said she picked up the wrong purse when she left her house. Two folks had an excuse very similar to mine—they had not noticed that their tickets were for the matinee performance that day and not the evening performance. Everyone had their excuses. In one another's company, however, our excuses no longer seemed compelling or unique. They became rather embarrassing, actually.
Eventually Miss Morris came over to our little group, patiently heard our stories and let us in the theater—for standing room.
I wonder how many excuses the omnipotent Miss Morris hears every day. And if Miss Morris hears a lot of excuses, I wonder how many excuses God hears every day.
God, please take my excuses and exchange them for confessions and a reliance upon your grace.
Martin B. Copenhaver is Senior Pastor, Wellesley Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Wellesley, Massachusetts. He is the author, with Lillian Daniel, of This Odd and Wondrous Calling: the Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers.