We get them all the time.

Birthday parties.
Baby showers.
Bridal showers.
House warming gatherings.

And when we get them,
we have to decide whether or not we want to receive the invitation
and involve ourselves in what is being offered.

We can decline an invitation.
And whether we do or not isn’t the point.
The point is that with an invitation comes a decision.

Yes or no.
In or out.
Leaning in or leaning out.

On Sunday,
I shared that the disciples had received an invitation from Jesus.
“As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

But they decided to opt-out and return to their pre-Jesus lives.
This is seen in Peter’s statement,
“I am going fishing.”

That’s what they decided.

Having walked with Jesus for some three years.
Having seen Him heal many.
Having heard the words He spoke.
Having witnessed incredible miracles.
Having eaten with the resurrected Christ.


The invitation had always been there.
Jesus’ first words to them were,

“Come follow Me.”

Now, to be fair, this invitation was clouded in emotion,
the unexpected
and the unknown.

The disciples were in shock.
And we would be too.

But, this doesn’t negate the fact that there is an offer on the table.

“Come follow Me.”

This was their invitation.
To journey a path unknown but assured by the will of the Father.
To follow in the promise of the presence of God with them
without any prediction of the specifics of what that might entail.

Like I said on Sunday,
the invitation of the cross is promise without prediction.

The presence of the power of God through the Holy Spirit on a journey that would take the disciples to places they would have never guessed.

This was their invitation.
This is our invitation too.

An invitation into the great unknown
girded by the power of the Creator of the universe.

I still can’t believe where this journey of faith has taken me.
The people I have met along the way.
The souls that have touched my life.
The mysteries of God manifesting themselves in front of me.
All by the blessed hand of God.

And I am sure that you, too, have seen this.
And are amazed.
And wonder where would you be without God’s loving hand guiding.
Where you would be without the grace and mercy.
Or the deep love of the Community of the Beloved.

This is our invitation.
To, as Michael Card puts it,

Come lose your life for a carpenter’s son,
for a madman who died for a dream.
Then you’ll have the faith His first followers had
and you’ll feel the weight of the beam.
So surrender the hunger to say you must know.
Have the courage to say I believe.
For the power of paradox opens your eyes,
and blinds those who say they can see.”

And this invitation is not ours only,
But an invitation to all.
It is an invitation to share with others.

A beckoning to receive the grace and mercy of God.
A fulfillment of the longing to be loved.
To be a part of something much greater than ourselves.

Brothers and sisters,
Let us, with joy, extend God’s invitation of the abundant life to those He has placed in our lives. Let us live a life that manifests the truth of God’s goodness and the wonder of the journey of faith.