March 24

 

Isaiah 55:1-9

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

 

I don’t often hear God described as the invitational God, but I like the sound of it. God, as made known through Jesus, invites us. God does not bully us, compel us or berate us. God invites. Invitation implies that we have the power to accept or reject. Invitation reminds us that the new life in Christ – redeemed, forgiven, accepted, empowered – is not self-attained. Although it comes from deep within ourselves, it comes from beyond our selves.   God respects our freedom to choose; read Isaiah 55:1. God invites us to live life as it was meant, in the divine eternal purpose, to be lived; to find that which satisfies our yearning for a better world. And God doesn’t give up. The invitation is repeated over and over although we can reach a stage where we have been blocking it out so long that we can no longer hear it and therefore cannot respond to it as Isaiah 55:6 implies.  However, God keeps issuing the invitation. Come. Come further with me along the way.  Come, work with me in my desire to see the world transformed. Come and find comfort, empowerment and purpose.  But know this: God’s ways are different from that of self-centred human beings (Isaiah 55:8-9) who create their own gods like money or possessions, happiness or pleasure, prestige or name, and allow themselves to get carried away by their own lusts and desires, or stretch God’s mercy to breaking point, pushing God’s boundaries to the limit. (1 Corinthians 10:6-13). To refuse the invitation is to suffer the consequences and the consequences might look very much like divine judgment, but they are self-inflicted. God invites us to live in relation to God, to other people, to the community, and to the environment with his spirit of love empowering us. If we don’t accept the invitation, we only have ourselves to blame.

 

  • What sort of invitations do you like to receive?
  • What makes it appropriate to call God an invitational God?
  • What is the difference between being told what to do and being invited to cooperate in what is going on?
  • What are some ways in which God’s ways are different from our usual human ways?