Sunday, 15 October 2017

Invitation - Do we accept or not

Recently my daughter had an invitation to go to a get together with "mates".  She was not sure whether they were going or had pulled out, did not want to bother her Dad if it was going to be a non-event, had no way of contacting the others (surprising in this day and age of instant comms) and all the other incipient anxieties that many of us have experienced one way or the other.  Who hasn't?  The invitation says 6.00 for 6.30 and no one is outside at 6.05.  Do we dress or do we go casual?  Anxieties that are so common place for some that they are really only irritants.  We boldly go with what we think is the correct response.  So what if we are early.  Perhaps we can ask to look inside if our friends cannot be seen outside.  These are easy response to soothe the troubled mind.  What if the questions are of a bigger or rather greater nature?  The Israelites were waiting for Moses and were filled with the same fears (Ex. 32.1-14).  They had an invitation from God but were waiting for him.  Their fears were expressed in the form of an alternative to God, the golden calf, as God did not appear to be with them at the time.

Those that were invited in Christ's parable (Matt. 22.1-14) find themselves trying desperately to get out of going.  If we worry about the minor details we are also prone to saying yes as a matter of politeness knowing that we will not turn up for the event in any case.  We have no qualms about this.  We want the person to know that we are friends but are really not wishing to be put out.  It is we that matter not anything else.  We are invited by Christ to form a relationship with Christ and with God and just like those other invitations we accept out of politeness. To be honest means that we have to change our lives and centre God above everything else.  It is like changing our clothes to go out to that gathering to which we have been invited.  In deed changing our clothes is perhaps easier than changing our lives for Christ.  Often we pretend, as it easier to wear an appearance than it is to make an inward change.
When will you accept God's invitation?

The invitation we accept but have no intention of going to.  The social grace of the appearance of intentionality in attending rather than the actuality of attending.  If we were to truly accept then our lives may actually be changed.  The invitation that we actually accept and participate in is the one that changes our lives totally.  Even when we have our last minute doubts outside the venue or whether our friends are actually going to be there.  In loosing heart at the last minute we condemn ourselves just as much as when we chicken out with a polite acceptance that means nothing.  We find other things to attract our attention and divert them away from God / Christ, just like the golden calf.  If we are to be honest with ourselves our whole life should be different to the one we have accepted as we pretend to live as Christ has invited us to do.  The abundant life that is Christ has been subverted by structure that is in place for our convenience.  We have had innumerable opportunities through out the ages to make changes in how we live our lives in Christ.   Each time we have been invited out of our own lives and out of the lives we have made for ourselves we become frightened.  We are like those that sit outside the venue debating as to whether anyone else is going to turn up.  If we do not see our friends we turn away.  We use any excuse to drive away and do it ourselves.  We find any excuse, rules, regulations, societal pressures to not attend or accept the invitation honestly.

We are invited into abundant life in Christ.  We are invited to love God and our neighbours as our selves.  At what point are we going to see that acceptance means change.  It means a move away from our own self indulgences into a more permanent life that is filled with the abundance that comes with the grace of God.  It means a move away from petty cruelty of lost invitations and moments to a life filled with God's presence and opportunities.  It means a fulfillment of our desires without the worry and struggle that comes with the task of doing it ourselves. SO when will you truly accept Christ's invitation?

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