In a bygone era, one could receive a paper-and-envelope invitation, delivered by one’s mail carrier, directly into one’s mailbox (seriously, this was a thing). They would be for various occasions: birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, wedding showers, weddings, retirements, roasts, bbq’s (or, like yesterday’s, a neighborhood fish fry in our cul-de-sac, celebrating the 4th of July – followed by a spectacular, neighborhood fireworks display). The presentation of these remarkable inventions could range from bright and cheery, super cute, hilarious, formal, folksy, to the extremely innovative, homemade, artsy types (and from those especially gifted, the information may even have been handwritten – in cursive! Ask someone over 60 to explain). By-times, even a specific dress code could be indicated. Included, frequently, were self-addressed RSVP cards (for convenience in responding in a timely manner as to whether or not you would be in attendance. This rather ancient, time consuming, method of preparing an event has largely been replaced by e-vites, an email or even a text message. While some might bemoan the passing of a gentler, slower-paced, (more personal?) age, the joy, indeed the honor, of being included in any of these festivities remains what it has always been – an undiminished pleasure.

To be invited to a family shindig is one thing. To be invited as a guest to a fancy event is more prestigious. To be invited where there would be famous or celebrated people is truly amazing. To receive a personal invitation from the very God of the Universe defies description! For that invitation to be sent out fresh morning after morning after morning for an entire lifetime, well, words simply fail to adequately convey the impact! And yet! And yet! The Almighty, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Creator of All that is, does just that to all those He has adopted as His kids. The generous-beyond-all-that-is-reasonable invitation of a pure, loving, Savior addressed to the included-but-wholly-undeserving body of the Redeemed, called His Church, His Bride, is, in earthly terms is not just the stuff of pipe dreams, but total insanity, but in Kingdom terms, is Plan ‘A’ (there is no Plan ‘B’). We are a wreck of a people, weak, willful, wandering, wasteful, invited to participate as principals in a tale, a Mission of Divine, Eternal Love. And our participation, as sketchy and as spotty and as dodgy as it may be, is transformed, miraculously, into Kingdom-expanding successes! Yes! Even our most recalcitrant Jesus obediences become gifts, fragrant offerings to the Father, gracelets pointing people to His heart, treasured sacrifices storing up further treasures for us in the Kingdom. It’s all too much! Way too much! And it’s only the introduction! Just the beginning! And so we worship… PD

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