October 10th, 2014 by Christopher Caudle
Getting a table for dinner on your birthday, or getting to see the doctor on an afternoon often requires a reservation. This seems simple enough. Plan ahead, call ahead, and things are ready when you arrive. First come, first served.
But, restaurants have long been torn between the costs of patrons who don’t show up for their reserved tables and the desire to get their best customers a table even when they show up unannounced. Doctors’ offices manage this problem with cancellation fees and waiting rooms.
Some companies like Resy and OpenTable have developed services where people can buy reservations online for popular restaurants, guaranteeing a seat for a special meal and a nice profit for the company. Guaranteeing a space for a price. Many people love the convenience. Many people don’t like the loss of “first come, first served”, or the chance to persuade the Maître d' at the front door.
In the gospel for Sunday, Jesus surrounds us in the story of a wedding feast that was right around the corner. In this case, the guests were not vying for seats at the Feast. Instead, they expressed their own reservations about attending. The gospel this weekend gives us a chance to see what we are willing or unwilling to do to hold our place, and to embrace the feast before us.
While securing the reservation is important, it is no substitute for the meal itself.
This reminds me of a funny moment in the television series Seinfeld, when the main character arrives to pick up a rental car and there is no car available to him.
JERRY: I don't understand, I made a reservation, do you have my reservation?
RENTAL CAR AGENT: Yes, we do. Unfortunately we ran out of cars.
JERRY: But the reservation keeps the car here. That's why you have the reservation.
RENTAL CAR AGENT: I know why we have reservations.
JERRY: I don't think you do. If you did, I'd have a car. See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don't know how to *hold* the reservation and that's really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.
See you Sunday. No reservations required.