I Cannot Come / The Wedding Banquet Song

This is a hymn about discipleship.  It is based on the parable of the wedding banquet, from Matthew 22.

It was written by American Roman Catholic Medical Mission Sister Miriam Therese Winter, and originally published in Winter's 1966, collection "Joy is Like the Rain".   

The song has subsequently been published in other books, including Songlines, with some alternations to make the lyrics more inclusive.


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Original recording - small group with guitar - on-screen lyrics:

Choir performance, with piano and double-bass:

Small choir with keyboard-based backing track:

Duet with guitar:


As the lyrics are copyright, they cannot be reproduced here. But they are available on this website.

A rough outline of the song is:

I cannot come: I cannot come to the banquet ....

1   A certain man held a feast on his fine estate ....

2   The master rose up in anger ...

3   When all the poor had assembled ...

4   Now God has written a lesson ...

See more ....

Chorus:I can not come!
I cannot come to the banquet, don't trouble me now,
I have married a wife, I have bought me a cow,
I have fields and commitments that cost a pretty sum,
Pray hold me excused, I cannot come!

1  A certain man had a feast on his fine estate in town,
He laid a festive table and wore a wedding gown
He sent invitations to his neighbors far and wide
But when the meal was ready, each one of them replied !

2  The master rose up in anger, called his servants by name,
Said, "Go into the town, fetch the blind and the lame,
Fetch the peasant and the pauper for this I have willed--
My banquet must be crowded and my table must be filled!"

3  When all the poor had assembled, there still was room to spare,
So the master demanded, "Go search everywhere,
To the highways and the byways and force them to come in,
My table must be filled, before the banquet can begin!"

4  Now God has written a lesson for the rest of mankind,
If we're slow in responding, He may leave us behind,
He's preparing a banquet for that great and glorious day,
When the Lord and master calls us, be certain not to say.

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