14th August 2019

We’re invited!

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honour to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself…Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”
Revelation 19:7–9 (NLT)

A few weeks ago would have been my wedding anniversary. Except…my husband died last year. So I called it my ‘non-iversary’ week instead. As far as I know, that’s a new word – I just made it up. Actually, I suppose I’ve based it on an interesting word in Danish that I came across recently: ‘nonfirmation’ (yes, they’ve borrowed it from English!). It’s for any 14-year-old who wants all the trappings of a Christian confirmation event, but without the Jesus bit. Well, why should some young people miss out on all the fun, just because they’re honest enough to admit they don’t relate to Jesus, so they don’t want to be confirmed into membership of the State church?

Should we be shocked? What would Jesus make of a ‘nonfirmation’ – a party he’s patently not invited to? Jesus was unconventional; the religious community of his day were often rattled by his ways. His first recorded public miracle took place at a wedding, turning water into top-quality wine so the host would not be publicly shamed! (John 2:1–11). He was criticised for sharing food and fellowship with the wrong crowd in Luke 7:34: “The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’” Jesus was a popular guest and clearly enjoyed a good party, yet never in a selfish way – his focus was on reaching out to others. He even gave advice on party planning, such as inviting those who can’t afford to invite you back (Luke 14:12–14).

Personally, I don’t think a ‘nonfirmation’ would faze Jesus in the slightest. Jesus has a way of turning up in people’s lives at a time they least expect, with dramatic results! He’s even been known to persuade someone to throw a surprise party for him: “Zacchaeus!” Jesus exclaimed, “I must be a guest in your home today” (Luke 19:5). Zacchaeus, the notorious sinner, became a changed man as a direct result of Jesus lodging with him – the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world to take away the sin of the world. Jesus is uniquely able to deal with sin and offer us life-changing forgiveness.

I’m sure anyone who takes the trouble to get to know Jesus would definitely want him on the guest list, whatever the occasion! Anyway, he’s already ‘turned the other cheek;’ he’s throwing a party of his own, and we’re all invited! As for my ‘non-iversary,’ Jesus’ ‘party’ will totally eclipse it! For me, and all who have lost loved ones, it will be a happy reunion. Marriage itself will be eclipsed, as a symbol of the marriage of Jesus and his bride, the church. Death will be irrelevant when that moment comes, as all believers in Jesus, including those who have already died in the faith, have accepted their invitation to that amazing ‘bash.’ Now, there’s an invitation worth confirming! Will you be there?

Thanks, Jesus, for inviting us to your party; may we all bring many ‘plus-ones’!

Study by Shirley McLean

About the Author:
Shirley McLean attends Grace Communion International in Luton. Shirley runs a monthly choir workshop, which is also a social occasion where all are welcome–see www.kingsfold.org

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone: 01908-582222
Email: luton@gracecom.church

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