I once heard that those who attend church regularly receive more invitations than those who do not. This statistic makes sense in our virtual culture that those who participate in a community of faith would be in more face to face situations with actual people. I think there is a deeper reason, though. The God we worship is invitational. God invites Abraham into covenant relationship, and in his life, Abraham offers invitation and hospitality to others on his journey. We also see that in Jesus’ life, it is a constant offering of invitation and those who are called doing the same.
I am reminded of the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19, Jesus invites this tax collector into relationship by calling him down from the tree and going to his home. In this invitation, salvation comes as this invitation is received by Zacchaeus and his entire family. ‘Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.” The invitation from Jesus is grace-filled and breaks down the walls between us.
Inviting is a part of our DNA in the church. In my middle school years, I received a life-changing invitation from a friend. I was going to church, but she invited me every week (I mean every week!) to go with her to youth choir and youth group on Sunday evenings. After many invitations, I said yes. It would be these experiences on Sunday evenings that would move me in a deeper way to receive the grace of Christ and begin to give it to others.
Following Jesus, is a journey of giving and receiving invitations. Our Lent practice of invitation is one that begins with God inviting us into relationship and into the story of Jesus that becomes our story. We are not only receivers of the invitation but also givers of this same invitation of grace to others. Consider this week who the Holy Spirit may be leading you to invite into Jesus’ story. Pray for this person. Then, I hope you will reach out and extend an invitation out of the grace of Christ that is given to you.
Grace and Peace,