October 8-15, 2008 – Isn’t it nice to be invited?

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Warm-up Question: How does it feel to be invited to something special?

It seemed like a typical Wednesday at Waukee High School. Maddie and Kaitlyn met before school at their lockers. They talked about their weekend plans. Both had planned to go out to dinner together then go to the Friday night football game. Kaitlyn was excited to talk to Maddie about the post-game party at Adrienne’s house. When she brought up the subject she could quickly recognize the look on Maddie’s face. Maddie hadn’t been invited to the post-game party. Maddie shrugged it off as no big deal and that she had to be home early on Friday anyway because of a commitment early on Saturday morning. She lied so Kaitlyn wouldn’t feel bad. The bell rang, the awkward moment ended, and the friends departed to their first classes.

Maddie spent the rest of the day in personal despair. She asked herself many questions about why she didn’t get invited. Did Adrienne not like her? Had she done something to offend her? They weren’t really that close anyway, how could she expect Adrienne to invite her? She was even a bit mad at Kaitlyn for being invited, but she realized it wasn’t her fault. Not being invited caused Maddie to feel rejection and a lack of acceptance. Her feelings were hurt. She went home and cried.

The weekend came and went. Maddie went home after the football game and her friend, Kaitlyn, headed to the post-game party. Maddie eventually got over it, but never forgot the feeling. She tried to keep this in mind when she saw others not being invited to events that she was invited to.

Discussion Questions

  • Have you ever not been invited to something you wanted to go to? Have you ever been invited to something you didn’t want to go to?
  • What do you think Kaitlyn felt when she learned that Maddie wasn’t invited?
  • How do you think you would have responded?
  • What can we do as Christians to invite others?

Scripture Texts (NRSV) for Sunday, October 12, 2008.
(Text links are to oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year A at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Scripture Reflection

In the Gospel, Jesus tells the story of a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sends out the message to those who he hopes will come. His messengers depart to go and tell them that the feast is ready. The king’s invited guests respond in different ways. Some ignore his invitation, some leave, some go about their business, and some even mistreat the messengers inviting them to the banquet. The king realizes that those who he has invited are unworthy and sends his messengers to gather people from the streets and fill the hall with guests; making those who seem unworthy, worthy.

Christ invites us all into the banquet of heaven with him. What a great and generous invitation! It feels so good to be invited. Christ gives us this invitation into a relationship with him yet many people turn down the invitation of the Holy Spirit to live their lives alongside Jesus and guided by him. When Christ is trying to speak to you how do you respond? Do you continue about your business? Do you ignore it or leave? Do you mistreat those who may be speaking the good news to you, just because you don’t want to hear it?

Acceptance and love is something that all people crave at the core of their being. With Christ, acceptance and love are continuously extended to us. As Christians, we are invited to share this acceptance with others. We have the opportunity to live fearlessly, knowing that we are loved and part of Christ’s kingdom. We are accepted by Christ and never rejected. Living fearlessly through our acceptance gives us the courage to share the good news with others, including — and especially — people in need of hope, healing, God’s love, and new life.

Discussion Questions

  • What is one way Christ speaks to your heart?
  • How do you respond to his invitation?
  • Do you think that living a life of acceptance in Christ enables us to live fearlessly? What things in life can cause us to back away from living our faith boldly, fearlessly? What things or people stir up our strength and courage of faith to live fearlessly?

Activity Suggestion

  • Have an intergenerational congregational birthday party. Send out invitations for all ages. Assign people to sit at intergenerational and family-mixed tables based on the month of their birth. Have a devotion led by different age people, play games, eat cake, and celebrate the diversity of life experiences.
  • Send letters to your congregation’s shut-ins. Offer an invitation to go and visit them. Go visit!

Closing Prayer

Blessed Savior, thank you for inviting us to your kingdom. Help us to remember to invite others, knowing that there are great gifts and blessings in this invitation. Bless those who feel like they live their lives on the fringe or are rejected or disconnected. Enable us to extend graciousness and generosity to their lives. In your name we pray. Amen

Contributed by Angie Larson
Clive, IA