Flying into the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport recently, the typical ho-hum taxiing to the gate lit up an adventure in my imagination. As we drew closer to the terminal, it struck me that, on the ground just outside our plane, there was organized chaos – people and vehicles scurrying pell-mell everywhere. There were actual travel lanes with stop signs painted on the asphalt (which were being obeyed!) for the tangle of trucks and carts and airport security and ambulances (just in case), to avoid collision with a plane’s arrival or departure. Baggage escalator carts, refueling trucks, caterers’ trucks, mechanical crews, then the empty wagons for receiving incoming luggage and the waiting wagons already loaded for the next leg of this plane’s itinerary. The number of personnel outside was staggering, too. It occurred to me how essential are those people with the lighted handheld cones directing the pilots safely into position. More people were required to get the jet bridge efficiently into place to receive all those travelers standing anxiously in the aisle, super-stuffed carry-on luggage already whipped down from overhead compartments. More airport personnel were rushing to get all bags red-tagged as ‘plane side’ up into the jet bridge. Then, there was the cleaning crew racing through the seats and restrooms in preparation for the next batch of happy vacationers. And there were, please God, some unseen but alert folks up in the air traffic control tower who had a responsibility or three. My awestruck reverie ended abruptly (I had to whip down our carry-ons from the overhead bins) with thinking airports were sprawling hospitality hubs, constantly welcoming (paying) guests, striving, in all their preparations (largely, and discreetly, behind the scenes), to encourage their guests to come back and enjoy their smiling, clean, efficient, services again the next time they were on their way from Point A to Point B.
The Kingdom of God, too, is like a sprawling hospitality hub, constantly inviting people to come and enjoy life as God planned it, intimate relationship with God and His other ‘guests,’ and the not-too-shabby eternity aspect of this life. His invitation is old and forever new. Throughout the centuries described for us in the Old Testament, He repeated this invite over and over, through different means and people, but with less than stellar success. After a bleak, four-century-long hiatus, it was finally time to bring his ‘A’ game, so God sent Jesus as a personal invitation to the Kingdom. We’re on the eve of Advent, this season in which we prepare, once again, to celebrate the ancient and forever new invitation of this Divine Guest. Starting next Sunday, we turn our focus on four facets of this best-ever invitation, this invitation which the Divine Guest has entrusted into our hands. Those awaiting our invitation are any who need hope, peace, joy, and love. And aren’t you thinking there just might be one or two out there? See you tomorrow at 10 AM, 3 PM, 4 PM. PD