Don’t tell me about the party unless you want me to come. I understand why schools have rules against passing out invitations unless everyone is included. Our son would fall apart and for a preschooler, that is a fairly reasonable response. Read the Dr. Seuss story of Hooper Humperdink for some perspective.
Parties and invitations are on my mind as I wrap up four weeks of my reflections on communicating the Christian faith. This continues to weigh heavily on my mind as I wrestle with the words, seeking faithfulness to a historic message and clarity for a contemporary audience. Looking back at my writing last week, I’m not sure I’ve done the job. It is amazing how easily specialized language worms its way into “clear” communication.
The story so far: God is a person, who exists outside of us. He made a world of harmony and beauty which we have fractured. Each of us is a victim and perpetrator in a cycle where we cannot stop damaging ourselves or each other. This ruin springs from rejecting God and filling his place with lesser things. The bible calls this sin and says that God himself comes to set us free. Jesus, who is God united to humanity, though whole and without stain dies on a cross to take our place. He suffers the consequences that we deserve for rejecting God yet on the third day rises from the dead. His death and resurrection mean forgiveness, freedom, reconciliation, and the conquest of death for all who believe.
Invitation: Each person then is summoned and invited to ask God for rescue from sin and all of its consequences based on what Jesus has done. By believing that Jesus died to take God’s curse we can ask God to bless us. By believing that Jesus died to take all the punishment for our sin, we can ask for God’s forgiveness. By believing that Jesus died experiencing God’s rejection we can ask for God’s constant love. By believing that Jesus rose to give new life, we can ask God for freedom from sin’s power. By believing that Jesus rose from the dead we can ask God to give us life that will transcend death. Each person is summoned to turn from their paths of ruin and rejection of God to the life that Christ offers. Believing in Jesus’ death and resurrection is the beginning of a total reorientation of life. This reorientation happens in connection with others on a similar journey and the name of this new community is the church. Where are you, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning that you have no interest in God’s summons to a new life in Christ and 10 meaning that you are full ready to take the plunge?