Isn’t it exciting to be invited to come to a party or event? Back when all invitations were delivered by mail, it was a thrill to open that small colored envelope that indicated an invitation to a baby shower, birthday party, graduation ceremony, or some other special event. Receiving an invitation was the height of inclusion. Somebody wanted YOU. Your presence was requested. The party would not be the same without you, so COME.
God is the ultimate invitation-giver. The entire bible might be summed up in the word “come.” Come to me, all you weary people. Come to me and rest. Come and be healed. Come and find peace. Just come.
In the 55th chapter of Isaiah, we receive a beautiful invitation. This one is offered to the thirsty, the poor, the hungry, and the people of every nation:
Isaiah 55 (New International Version)
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”
Even the wicked are invited to come, and we are all invited to seek the Lord. Mercy is found when people seek God.
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
In the mystery of this universal invitation, all are invited to come for pardon. This may confuse us. We may question the offer of pardoning to the evil ones who have brought so much destruction to others. Yet God reserves the right to invite whomever he pleases…and it is not for us to question. His thoughts and ways are far higher than ours.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
So we have two jobs today. One is to accept the invitation to come before the Lord and receive all of his mercy, pardon, and blessing. The other is to extend that invitation to the most vulnerable and hurting among us. Go, and do likewise. Or better still, come.