Tag Archives: Invitation

God, Ready to Help

Psalm 46 (CEV)

(A special song for the people of Korah and for the music leader.)

God Is Our Mighty Fortress

46 God is our mighty fortress,
    always ready to help
    in times of trouble.
And so, we won’t be afraid!
    Let the earth tremble
    and the mountains tumble
    into the deepest sea.
Let the ocean roar and foam,
    and its raging waves
    shake the mountains.

A river and its streams
    bring joy to the city,
    which is the sacred home
    of God Most High.
God is in that city,
and it won’t be shaken.
    He will help it at dawn.

Nations rage! Kingdoms fall!
    But at the voice of God
    the earth itself melts.
The Lord All-Powerful
    is with us.
    The God of Jacob
    is our fortress.

Come! See the fearsome things
    the Lord has done on earth.
God brings wars to an end
    all over the world.
He breaks the arrows,
shatters the spears,
    and burns the shields.
10 Our God says, “Calm down,
    and learn that I am God!
    All nations on earth
    will honor me.”

11 The Lord All-Powerful
    is with us.
    The God of Jacob
    is our fortress.

A God always ready to help.  A God of strength and safety.  A God who is always with us.  A God who shatters spears, burns shields, breaks arrows – that’s my kind of God.  When people let us down, scare us, hurt us, or reject us – he never will.

But God is more than that.  He invites us to know him.  A God who urges us to calm down…, to learn that he is God.  Or the more familiar,

Be still, and know that I am God

I thought this was an interesting interpretation of this Psalm:

And maybe this makes it more real in the place you are today:

God is God.  In our fear, our pain, our distress, our discomfort, our heartbreak, our trouble…

God is there.  Ready to help.

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Be Our Guest

By User:Mattes (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Usually when you are invited to a wedding reception, there is a seating plan.  You may spend some time before the ceremony wondering, or worrying, who you may be sitting with,  but getting to know new people is all part of the experience.  But imagine if you sat in the wrong place.  If you wrongly assumed your place in the pecking order…

Luke 14:1, 7-14 (CEV)

14 One Sabbath, Jesus was having dinner in the home of an important Pharisee, and everyone was carefully watching Jesus.

How To Be a Guest

Jesus saw how the guests had tried to take the best seats. So he told them:

When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the best place. Someone more important may have been invited. Then the one who invited you will come and say, “Give your place to this other guest!” You will be embarrassed and will have to sit in the worst place.

10 When you are invited to be a guest, go and sit in the worst place. Then the one who invited you may come and say, “My friend, take a better seat!” You will then be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honoured.

12 Then Jesus said to the man who had invited him:

When you give a dinner or a banquet, don’t invite your friends and family and relatives and rich neighbours. If you do, they will invite you in return, and you will be paid back. 13 When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 They cannot pay you back. But God will bless you and reward you when his people rise from death.

It was inevitable that this was going to be the gospel reading for this week.  This is what the other passages have been building up to.  We’re back to pride again.  Not necessarily assuming that you’re better than you are, but the danger of assuming that you’re better than some others there.

But Jesus also takes this one step further.  He challenges on the people we would invite.

Do we mix with those who are good to be seen with, of some value to us in terms of moving up the ladder, or into a different circle?  Do we invite those who will invite us back?

Jesus challenges us to think.  Who would get most help sharing our meal with us?  Dare we ask those who really need a meal?  Those who have no kitchen to cook anything for themselves?  Those who have no food in their cupboards?  Those who cannot fend for themselves?  Those who apparently have little to offer us – but bring such wealth in other ways?

Is Jesus challenging me on the kind of people I mix with?  The kind of people I am willing to help?  Whether I help only those who can help me in return?  Do I stick with my nice safe Christian friends?  Only ever talk to those who would agree with me, rather than challenge me?

Who does God invite?  Who do I look over?

Who are we inviting to share God’s feast with us?

Who is he asking us to invite?

Are you Coming?

Can you imagine if you had been invited to the wedding of the now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge?  I can’t imagine many of us would have considered refusing it – however Royalist or Republican our views.

We would want to be there, to be a part of what was happening, a piece of history; and to be seen to be there would be such an honour.

Such an honour is given in The Parable of the Wedding Feast.

The King has prepared a wedding feast for his son.  The very best of food has been prepared.  Come, the guests are invited.

But the guests are all busy.  They are more interested in going about their business, than joining the king for the celebration.  Because of this, anyone and everyone was invited – people from the streets, good, bad and indifferent, were all invited to come.

This, Jesus says, is how it is with God’s Kingdom.

We have an invitation – will we come?

Or are we too busy?  Too focussed on all we have to do?  Caught up in our own priorities?  Missing the greatest invitation of our lives?

God is inviting you to join him.  Will you?

Forgive me Lord,

that though I hear you call,

I am busy,

have other things to do,

projects that seem more important.

As I hear your invitation,

may I answer,

come to your banquet,

and feast on all you provide