The familiar acronym, RSVP, is French for ‘Répondez s’il vous plaît’ (Please respond). Oddly enough, the French are unaware of our British and American tendency to adapt phrases freely from other languages when it suits our wanting of convenience and simplicity. While it is still employed regularly on invitations to showers, birthday parties, weddings, even glittering, state dinners in London, Edinburgh, and Washington, DC, the adherence to this formality appears to be less in vogue, less de rigueur than it once was. Polls show, even for latter-mentioned galas, the actual return rate of these requests is less than 40%, even with the SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope – just in case that acronym slipped by you). Surprisingly, the average attendance at all gatherings comes in at 85%, meaning 45% of those who show up don’t bother with the courtesy of a reply! (try budgeting for that!)
We are Jesus’ living invitations, like walking billboards announcing to the world the joy-filled, forever living to be found in him. This Wedding Feast (our invite) is fully prepared, the decorations are in place, the food and wine and desserts have been ordered. The chef, the maître d,’ (French for maître d’hôtel, or master of the house – another adaptation), the sommelier (again, French, for wine steward), and the wait staff, are all in uniform and standing at attention. All that’s required is that we live out loud our in-Christ lives (they are the invitation), confident that there is nothing more we need do. Pretty cool, actually! Jesus has clearly told us to lovingly, wholeheartedly, unflinchingly, invite everybody to come: family, friends, and yes, the undeserving, the uncool, the unfriendly, adherents to the ‘other’ political party!, and all with whom we disagree (aka, enemies).
So, what to do about those non-responders, the indifferent, the mockers? We just keep inviting, leaving the Holy Spirit to do what he does best. Sure does take the pressure off our shoulders! PD
Here’s a helpful prayer for each morning (from the Lectio 365 Prayer App):
“Father, help me to live this day to the full, being true to you in every way.
Jesus, help me to give myself away to others, being kind to everyone I meet.
Spirit, help me to love the lost, proclaiming Christ in all I do and say.