I have some posh invitation cards on my desk at the moment. One is to attend a Military Operational Presentation with the 16 Air Assault Brigade in Colchester. I’m not sure what one of those is, but I am going to go and find out.
The second is an invitation for me (and a plus one) to attend the Vice Chancellor’s Summer Reception at Essex University. I am planning to go to that too. I am not open to bids for my ‘plus one’.
Both of this invitations have come to me by virtue of my status. It’s nothing to do with me as an individual or my personalityOne is because I am a Minister at Colchester Baptist Church and ‘community leaders’ have been invited to watch the soldiers do their thing. The other is because I am the Baptist Chaplain at Essex University
It’s nice to be invited to these special events, but I reckon that personal invitations to parties, meals, watching films and so on are much better because you have been invited because of who you are not what you are.
Jesus’ parables of the Kingdom of God make the same point. We are all invited to participate because of who we are – people loved by God. The moment we start to make it about what we are we have lost it.
Unspoken (or worse spoken rules) about what you should wear, how you should look, how much you should earn, where you should sit, how you should sing, what language you should (or shouldn’t) use, what you have done in the past, how much you know about Jesus, where you can park, and so on are all about what you are, not who you are.
There is no place for them in the Kingdom of God.
The rules, that is, not the people!
A new soldier was on sentry duty at the main gate. His orders were clear. No car was to enter unless it had a special sticker on the windscreen. A big Army staff car came up with a general seated in the back. The sentry said, “Halt, who goes there?”
The chauffeur, a corporal, says, “General Wheeler.”
“I’m sorry, I can’t let you through. You’ve got to have a sticker on the windscreen.”
The general said, “Drive on!”
The sentry said, “Hold it! You really can’t come through. I have orders to shoot if you try driving in without a sticker.”
The general repeated, “I’m telling you, son, drive on!”
The sentry walked up to the rear window and said, “General, I’m new at this. Do I shoot you or the the driver?”