A Gathering of the Beautiful People

“Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame. Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.”

This was taken from one of Jesus’ parables, related in the biblical book of Luke, chapter 14, conveying the heart of God toward those whom the world deems…

LOSERS, FREAKS, WEIRDOS and OUTCASTS.

So, welcome to the banquet hall!

You’ve already met Clyde, the doorman. He’s dressed to the nines in his best—ok, his only—suit, greeting newcomers at the door. He never knew his dad, which was a source of embarrassment and pain for him as a child. His mama loved him dearly, but died of a heart attack when he was only 15, leaving him to fend for himself.

He’s quick with a smile and a handshake, making you feel warm and welcome right off. Sure, when he walks out into the open, into the sun and before the world, people stare at him, but he’s learned to ignore it. Out there he’s “nothing,” but in here, man…

Yeah, in the banquet hall, he’s the top maître d’, and highly treasured. We hold him in high esteem, as does our Lord, the King.

At the punchbowl you’ll find Marigold, whose family disinherited her nearly 20 years ago when she was strung out on heroin. They were considered “upper crust,” and their daughter was just too much of an embarrassment to them.

These days, however, she lives up to her name and is as good as “gold.” She’s been clean for seven years this September, and has the most contagious smile you’ve ever seen. She works harder than anyone else, and we really dig her (mainly) pink, orange and green wardrobe.

We think she’s beautiful, and God does, too.

Ron lives in a small shack on the broken side of town. His little sister cuts his hair, and he shares his supper with her. He’s like a shadow in this town, coming and going with hardly a glance from anyone.

But in the banquet hall…

Ah, that’s a different story. Ron’s pinstripe tux makes him the talk of us all, and that boy can dance. OH how he can dance! We love him.

God loves him, as well, more than you’ll ever know.

Brea lost her kids in her early 20s, when they were four and six. Her ex-boyfriend was running a kiddie-porn business online, and had threatened to murder her and the children if she told anyone. One day he crossed the line and she found him taking pictures of her little girl while she was taking a shower, and chased him down the street with a baseball bat.

After he recovered from the beating, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Her sentence was five years, with another five on probation.

Brea is a beauty, and her smile can chase the darkness from the coldest heart. Yeah, to “the world,” she’s an interesting dinner topic, a sad and fascinating Google search, but to the King…

Yes, to the King, she’s one of His beautiful attendants, cleaning things up spic-n-span like a pro, making the world shine a little brighter. She is loved and cherished by everyone here.

Which brings us to Pat. He is awesome and funky and cool, although he’s been incessantly mocked and ridiculed by those outside these walls. For a while he was bullied nearly to the point of insanity, before he learned to disregard the naysayers.

Pat loves wrestling and heavy metal, which is part of why I love the man so much. His soul glimmers like the moon on a dark night. His laugh is the most hearty and contagious in the whole room, and he’s treasured by the banquet guests.

I could go on and on, but I’ll save the rest for another day.

Yeah, outside these walls, we’re called…

LOSERS, FREAKS, WEIRDOS and OUTCASTS.

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But in here…

Ah, in the banquet hall…

By the King and everyone here, we’re loved. We’re treasured and valued and cherished.

In here, we are family.

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Blessings.

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