Worship as an invitation from God to you
I want to give you to 2 pictures today for you to wonder about and for you to reflect upon in your own time of worship – either later on in the service or when you get back home…
They are both found around the word COME.
Come is often written on an invite – Come to my party, come and meet up, come and let’s talk about things. When you get an invitation I wonder what is your response. Some of you are going to say well it depends on who is making the invitation. If one of my daughters is inviting me to meet up then that’s an easy ‘yes’ – they know me, I know them and I can generally know how that meeting will happen – that’s not a difficult yes .
But then there are the invites when you are not sure what will be involved, and you are not too sure how well you know the person inviting you. If they really knew you, would they still invite you? What if King Charles sent you an invite – what would that be like, what would I wear, have they got the right person, surely not??! That’s what might go through my head. I wonder what was the best invitation that you have ever had?
I wonder if it’s the same reaction when God invites you and says ‘come’, When God chooses us and wants to draw us into that relationship of worship. I wonder what you think? Does He really know who I am, am I worthy to come into His presence, maybe I can just stop just inside His front door?
But the heart of God, the compassion of Jesus ….says ‘yes I do know you, and I say ‘Come.’
Where am I seeing this in the Bible?
The first picture is from Genesis – where the implication is that before Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree and messed things up – God would walk with them in ‘the cool of the evening’. In Palestinian climate – a most delightful time to walk. We do have to be careful and realise that because all we have is our limited earthly vocab and experience, to have God walking in the garden with Adam and Eve reduces God to a human form. Well there is not much we can say literally about God, save that He is holy. So in speaking anything of God we go back to our limited human images….to God walking with Adam and Eve, in the cool of the evening. And this is also described for Enoch and Noah in a similar way later in Genesis.
I wonder if you have ever considered this imagery in your relationship with God – what does it make you feel like or what does it encourage you to think about? In our reading though, God calls out ‘where are you?’ that all important, relationship was damaged and God’s people will spend the rest of the Old Testament lamenting the loss of the relationship with The LORD GOD ALMIGHTY – maker of heaven and earth….but in the beginning GOD CHOSE US to be the pinnacle of his creation and GOD said it was very good.
SO there is no doubt in my mind that when we consider Worshipping God – my heart is responding to the God who says, ‘ Come’, the God who chooses us, he chooses us to walk with Him in the ‘cool of the evening’…
And our second picture is from Jesus. He too says ‘COME’
In this passage from Matthew 11 – Jesus is receiving growing opposition from human beings, those who he loves and would choose, they are beginning to reject him – those in power and authority. So Jesus points out that it is the ‘wee ones’, those who are children yes, but wider than that, those who were humble, unlearned, people understood Him and who He was…It was these people who became his disciples ( which we learnt a few weeks ago), chosen by God, in keeping with the Sovereign’s purpose and will. And God chooses them and us as his disciples to ‘come’ and take up his yoke…to bring us rest. From our Western 21st century way of thinking, this doesn’t sound very restful, taking up a yoke? However the 1st century disciples would be used to this terminology of the yolk as referring commonly to having obedience to the law. Indeed the purpose of a yoke is to lighten the load which in Old Testament times needed lightning because the burden of the law had become too great in ever proliferating laws. Jesus’ yoke is easy not because it disregards the law but because it means entering into a relationship with a one who is gentle and lowly in heart. Jesus is saying come to his disciples into a relationship where we will find rest for our souls. Jeremiah 6:16 says something similar,
the Lord says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
Way back before Jesus there was an invitation to find rest by choosing the ancient path, choosing the way to walk with God and now Jesus issues this invitation in his own name. Just as we see in Jeremiah we have a choice to make as we stand at the crossroads. When God says to us ‘where are you’ or ‘come’ what will our response be today?
God says ‘Come’, come into worship…..I just wanted to suggest a few ways that I and others use – on the prayer card?
-Prayer and worship from the Daily Prayer App – on Facebook from the Clergy team ( term-time) Daily Prayer
-Pray as you go Pray As You Go
-Lectio 365 Lectio 365
All ways to come…come to God who chooses us and invites us into worship…
For me, responding to God’s word, ‘come’….I think what I softens my heart when it has become hard, makes my distractions less noisy, and the list of all the things I need to do, lessens. And Paul writes that he has ‘learned’ his faith…we perhaps need to actively learn how to pursue the invitation God makes to us….
One of the easiest ways I have found to worship is to start with giving thanks….even JOURNALLING them. How about over the Summer keeping a journal of thanks….instead of that deadly sin of comparison and thinking of all the things I don’t have…Could it be that when we focus on God’s invitation to us and we start by giving thanks and praise to him, life is put back into perspective and God responds with his peace and we find contentment, a peace for our souls?
We don’t need to worry about what we wear, or how we will behave, or whether we ARE GOOD ENOUGH, and we don’t have to stay just inside the front door – but we can be assured that our invite is real and God’s heart is to say to us ‘COME.’…AND FIND PEACE FOR OUR SOULS