There is something about an invitation that makes one feel special and important. Think back to how you felt when you opened your mailbox and received a letter inviting you to a wedding, a graduation party, a confirmation or baptism celebration, a retirement party, or a birthday party. You probably felt a sense of value and appreciation as the person throwing the party took the time and effort to create this invitation to give to you. Maybe the card was quite elaborate, maybe it was handwritten, maybe it had a personal note attached that anticipated your arrival at this event. Whatever the reason, you felt a sense of belonging. In a way, the inviter was saying that this party would not be complete without you there and they would love nothing more than for you to accept this invitation to come and join the party.
In preparation for this party, you might go to great lengths to get yourself ready. You might go and buy a new outfit to wear or you might schedule a haircut so that you could look your best. You might go and buy a gift to give to this person or look for someone to invite along if the option is so given. You block out your schedule and you make time for that important event where your presence in attendance is desired by the inviter. We love going to parties because it feels really great to know that you belong, that you were asked to be there, that you were on the list.
We have each been invited to a grand banquet, a feast given and prepared by the Great Inviter: our Heavenly Father. From the creation of the world, He has been preparing for the time when He will take His beloved people home who have received His generous gift of invitation and dine with them in His holy kingdom. He has sent His Son Jesus to tell the world of this coming party and to be ready to receive this invitation. This is an invitation that requires nothing from us other than to receive it as just that: an invitation. We need not try to dress or clean ourselves up, and we need not fret over what we can bring or do to merit our invite. We were invited for who we are as beloved children of God, and we were invited not because of our merit, but because of our need for Him. As we await in hope and assurance of that blessed day of this glorious banquet, we eagerly await that final declaration from Jesus that bids us “Come, for everything is now ready.”
Pastor Ben Bigaouette