Have You Heard About the Hall

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God has a hall ready for us, for us and for so many more

The other day my neighbor from across the street was out raking. He’s a great guy. He was actually raking his next-door neighbor’s lawn. There’s no reason the men who live there can’t do it, which is why I wouldn’t do it, because I’m still working on the sanctification thing, but he takes great care of their lawn when it gets rough.

Anyway, when he saw me walking to my truck, he got excited and called me over. He asked if I went to the Lutheran church down the road. Apparently, they have a hall they’ve started renting out and he’s played several quinceañeras there. He’s in a mariachi band and is a very talented musician. He said the hall was getting very popular. He seemed excited at the prospect of it being my church.

I did what any Lutheran would do. I explained that the church with the apparently great hall is a Missouri Synod church. I told him I am WELS. I explained that back in the 1800s there was this thing called the Synodical Conference and that the Missouri Synod, the LCMS, had been in fellowship with my synod, the Wisconsin Synod, or WELS, as well as the ELS and the Slovak Synod. I then told him about how differences emerged about the doctrines of church and ministry and fellowship and how the LCMS pursued potential fellowship with the ALC, which later became part of the ELCA, which helped lead the ELS, the Norwegians, to break fellowship with the LCMS. I told him the WELS waited, but after the CLC broke away from us, we felt the need to break fellowship, too. It was unfortunate, but no, I’m not a member of the Lutheran church down the street.

I’m just joking. I didn’t say any of that. I just said that I went to a different Lutheran church. He seemed cool with that. He went back to telling me about this hall. “Had I ever seen it”, he asked. I told him I’d gone to church there a few times because I was friends with the old pastor and am friends with one of the newer pastors, but confessed I’d never seen the hall. I’d never been invited like he had. Maybe I need to learn an instrument. 

God has a hall ready for us, for us and for so many more. There’s a feast coming, and it’s been a long time coming. Invitations have gone out for centuries, for millennia. Word has spread, and still is spreading. This is a great hall, too—the kind people would talk about while raking leaves. There’s quite the party coming.

God has a hall ready for us, for us and for so many more.

Imagine if I’d said to my neighbor, “Clearly this hall doesn’t exist, because I’ve never seen it.” Or imagine if I’d said, “The hall can’t be that great, because I heard people send out invitations for the party there way too early?” Or imagine if I’d said, “There surely can’t be any hall, because my life hasn’t changed at all, and the world still seems pretty much the same, no matter how many quinceañeras you’ve supposedly played.” I’d be a scoffer, and I’d be foolish, just like the five foolish virgins from Matthew 25, because, I mean, haven’t you heard about this hall?!

Christ came and proclaimed the coming of his wedding banquet a long time ago, a really long time ago. He came and he told his apostles to start inviting people a long time ago, a really long time ago. It’s natural, I suppose, to wonder when it’s happening. Normally invitations provide a date. But God doesn’t operate with our calendars. The invitation is clear. It will happen when the time is right. It will happen in the blink of an eye when it happens, whenever that is.

He wants everyone to know they are welcome, because he shed his blood for everyone.

Why is God so slow in throwing the party, in opening the doors of the hall? For the same reason that he took on flesh and tented among us: because he’s merciful. He wants the invitation to go out to all. He wants everyone to hear about the hall. He wants everyone to know they are welcome, because he shed his blood for everyone.

Have you heard about the hall? Not the Missouri Synod one, although I bet it’s great, and I am going to get my buddy, one of the pastors there, to show me now. Have you heard about the Lamb’s hall, where his feast will take place, of which we get a foretaste now in the Lord’s Supper? I’ve not been there, but let me tell you, it ought to be the talk of the town. Consider this your invitation. You’ll get another one tomorrow, too, and another one the day after, should the Lord grant us more days. What should you do in the meanwhile? I don’t know, maybe rake your neighbor’s leaves.

[1] This is not an exact retelling of the history and certainly lacks nuance, but hopefully you get the joke.