The Parable of the Banquet
LUKE 14:15-24: “When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, ‘Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.’ Jesus replied: ‘A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet’.”
What is the Great Banquet
This parable provides the picture of the Great Banquet. Like its counterparts, Cursillo, Emmaus, and Tres Dais, the Great Banquet is an orderly, structured weekend designed to strengthen and renew the faith of Christians. Through a combined effort of laity and clergy the Great Banquet focuses on renewal of the church.
The Great Banquet is a 72 hour experience, beginning on Thursday evening and ending on Sunday evening. During this time, guests live and study together in a worshipful time of singing, prayer, sharing, and discussion. During each of the fifteen talks given by laity and clergy, the theme of God’s Grace is presented. Guests participate in the daily celebration of Holy Communion and experience the grace of God through the presence of Christ in a loving, supportive, Christian community.
Although the weekend lasts only three days, guests are invited to use its lessons for the rest of their lives. After attending the Great Banquet, they are challenged to:
(1) Strengthen their own spiritual life though study and active congregational participation
(2) Strive to become active disciples of Jesus Christ in the world through their churches
After the Great Banquet Weekend
Also after attending the Great Banquet, participants have the opportunity to join a reunion group. A reunion group is a smaller, more local group which meets weekly for support and sharing for the purpose of spiritual growth. Future Great Banquet weekends will also provide opportunities for the participant to assist by means of prayer, team involvement, and other forms of support. A periodic newsletter keeps the community in touch with relevant needs, dates, and locations of future Great Banquet weekends both locally and regionally.
History of the Great Banquet
The history of the Great Banquet movement begins with the Cursillo and the Walk to Emmaus. The Cursillo (3-day course in Christianity) began in Spain in the 1940’s in the Catholic Church. It spread to the United States and evolved for Protestants into the Walk to Emmaus under the auspices of the Upper Room and the United Methodist Church. An Emmaus Movement was started by the First Presbyterian Church of Madisonville, Kentucky, in 1982. After a ten year history of the Walk to Emmaus in Madisonville, the Great Banquet continues to emphasize personal Christian discipleship. Institutionally sponsored by the Madisonville, Kentucky, First Presbyterian Church, this renewal weekend started in October 1991. Lampstand Ministries was created in 1992 to be the covering corporation to start Great Banquet Movements. The Great Banquet of Lafayette, Indiana, is an extension of this ministry.
The Purpose of the Great Banquet
The purpose of the Great Banquet is to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and to make Him known. The Great Banquet is not a closed society, but a movement within Christianity. The Great Banquet does not provide a climate for resolution to deep seated problems, but is designed to help Christians mature in Christ. If your desire is to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you are invited to the Great Banquet.
For More Information
Great Banquet Community Lay Directors: Mike and Pam Winings
Click here to Email Mike and Pam Winings about the Great Banquet