Skip to main content

Sharing some Joy...

One of the lessons assigned this Sunday -- the lesson from Revelation -- has a recurring theme of invitation:

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come."
And let everyone who hears say, "Come."
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.


During a recent "Invite-Welcome-Connect" workshop at The Falls Church Episcopal, we heard about the value of invitation.

It's a fascinating fact that even though we live in an era of internet, advertising, Twitter and Facebook, the number one reason people come to church is - or get connected to a ministry once there - is because someone invited them.

"Come!"

Here's what I find even more fascinating, though:

No one ever has to tell you to invite your friends to something about which you are genuinely enthusiastic.

You see a new movie or discover a new music act or read a new book, and you say, spontaneously, "have you heard about ________?"

There's joy in sharing joy.

So...ponder this a minute:

What are some reasons you come to church?

Why do you, among all the choices you have on Sunday mornings, decide to go to church?

And - if you're connected in any way to any ministry of the church - why? What's the reason you're involved, and not just attending?

I think - I hope - that if you dig deep enough into your reasons for coming, or getting involved, you'll eventually get to the word "joy."

Remember that Christ - and therefore Christianity - is announced in the Bible as "Good tidings of great joy."

That is first thing that is said in the angelic announcement about God coming to earth as Jesus.

As the author Steve Backlund writes,
The angel did not say, 'I bring you news of a teaching that I hope you can follow,' or
'I bring you news that Jesus is coming; and boy, is He mad!' but no, the message was, 'It's time to celebrate!' 
God is doing what you couldn't. God is making a way where there was no way. You are being saved from the curse, from rejection, shame, punishment, poverty, sickness; and from performance-based living. The door is being opened to eternal life; intimacy with the Father, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and so much more. It is incredible, joyous news!
That is the message; that is the reason - I hope - at the root of your coming to, and being involved in, church.

(If you don't feel joy about your church, then that's a problem; talk to your leadership (me or Rev. Kelly or Nina or one of the wardens, if your church is The Falls Church Episcopal.)

So yes, plug your favorite new movie or restaurant or vacation spot.

But if you feel joy about your church, give yourself permission to plug your church too.

Invite someone.

Don't worry about his or her response; God is in charge of their response, not you.

Only concentrate on what you have control over: sharing your joy, and inviting....

...saying to someone, soon,

"Come!"

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If there's a will, there's a way.

For Lent, I was thinking of doing the typical fasts: fast from Facebook and take up reading, fast from petty vices like overindulging in sweets and alcohol and take on moderation, yada yada yada.
But I'm re-thinking that this year.
What I'm fasting from this Lent is discouragement. That means cutting back on what is so often the source of discouragement, which is a tendency to gorge on, or dwell on, bad news.
(Let me be clear: that does not mean giving up news or otherwise burying my head in the sand: it means staying informed while finding ways not to get pulled into a downward spiral of feelings of numbness and helplessness; it means giving up unproductive feelings like hopelessness and resignation and taking on visible behaviors like giving encouragement and taking action.)
It means making visible -- here, on my blog, and even on Facebook -- the good.
Because the problem is -- to paraphrase the community organizer Rich Harwood -- a lot of times we see "good news stories…

Fasting from Discouragement, Making Visible the Good

So for Lent, I was thinking of doing the typical fasts: fast from Facebook and take up reading, fast from petty vices like overindulging in sweets and alcohol and take on moderation, yada yada yada.

But I'm re-thinking that.
Now one of the things I'm thinking about fasting from during Lent is discouragement. That means cutting back on what is so often the source of discouragement, which is a tendency to gorge on, or dwell on, bad news.
That would mean taking on encouragement: to make visible -- even on Facebook -- the good.
Because the problem is -- to paraphrase the community organizer Rich Harwood -- a lot of times we see "good news stories" as being quaint -- they are tossed in at the end of the news as an inspiring story, or put in the style section. But stories of good things happening -- people coming together to do things, is not a touchy-feely, feel-good story, but something affecting real change.
So for starters: I'm inspired by the leadership example of…