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

Let's Unpack One Trump Tweet on Refugees

No one can  -- and I certainly don't want to try -- to unpack every tweet the person currently holding the office of President of the United States sends out.

No one has the time to respond to every one of his tweets on just one issue. Although I wish I had the time on the issue of the Executive Orders recently issued in regard to refugees.

But every so often I feel I MUST respond to at least SOME of those tweets, lest I grow accustomed to them as normal. And I refuse to normalize the abnormal. 

Take one of Saturday's tweets, for example: in response to Judge Robart's temporarily stopping an Executive Orders, there was this: 



“What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?” 

Let's unpack: 

"What is our country coming to..." 
Does that lament sound familiar? Ask yourself: who often says it, where do you hear it from the most? Is it a positive, hopeful line of thinking? I wil…

The Beatitudes, Lady Liberty, and Refugees

A sermon preached January 29, 2017
The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector
The Falls Church Episcopal

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the p…