If you haven’t seen the movie Antwone Fisher, stop reading and go immediately to Amazon. G.K. Chesterton said every good story is a retelling of the gospel. Antwone Fisher offers the gospel in IMAX.
In many ways, one story could be told a thousand times over: A baby grows up in abused orphan through the flawed social service system. Forced to come to terms with the destructive anger seething just under the surface, Antwone embarks on a redemptive journey to find his roots and his family. He set out to find forgiveness: both to give and receive receive.
The story is plainly told, straightforward and almost methodical. The story’s climax comes after Antwone finds his mom, a disappointing encounter where he tells her who he has become as a man while she sits silent, eyes glued to the floor in shame.
He returns to the home of his aunt and opens the door, surprised to find a mob of people. Children and couples and cousins and uncles and family friends all smother him with hugs and beaming smiles. He is led to a grand feast. The scene is a party. For the first time in his life, he is being adored; he belongs.
As the clammer quiets, an elderly woman sitting behind the table motions for him. With slow, deliberate moves, she caresses his face. A tear runs down her cheek, and with a raspy voice that seems as if it were mustering all the strength it possessed, she whispers the most redemptive word he has ever heard: “Welcome.”
Welcome to the life of a man who had never been truly welcome anywhere. Welcome to a feast in his honor when no one had ever shown delight in him before. Welcome to a home, a people. Welcome.
“Welcome” is the core of the Gospel.
Welcome if you are scarred by sin. Welcome if you have never heard anyone call out your name with sheer pleasure. Welcome if notions of acceptance and love have only mocked you. Welcome if you have abandoned hope that you could ever find a home.
This is God’s invitation: a hearty welcome to the banquet, where joy, laughter and a deep embracing are yours. The prophetic invitation which peered ahead to the cross is this: “The Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all people, a banquet of aged wine – the best of meats and the finest of wines.”
Welcome to the banquet.
Read Isaiah 25, exodus two, ask 28, Revelation 19:6-9.
Lord, thank You for making a place for me at Your wedding banquet table. Help me to live my life in light of that coming reality in to seek my sense of belonging and acceptance in You first.