Shaking my hand a few moments too long the usher stared at my legs which seemed odd given I was at church.
“Follow me to the sanctuary” He smiled.
Glancing right I wondered if I’d read the service times wrong.
“Abbey this is Ms. Pam, she’s a first timer.”
“Hello, Pam, nice to have you join us.” Abbey said.
Us. Us? Who was us?
As far as I could tell us was me and a few church employees, where was everyone else?
Who invited you?
Looking up I watched as the head usher made his way toward me. Behind him was what appeared to be the hall patrol girl only there was no one to patrol. In side the auditorium which housed middle schoolers during the week, near the stage a group had gathered. I imagined it included the pastor and worship team.
Why had I done this? I liked my church, why on Palm Sunday of all days had I decided to walk to the closest church. I wanted my mega church anonymity back. I wanted to be a nobody, no name, no address, no email somebody who could slip into church and slip out without all the fuss.
My heels sounded an alarm that called the rest of ‘us’ to me as I headed toward the stage. The first one to show up at my side was the pastor. “Ms. Pam we are glad you are here to celebrate with us.” Turning to a man seated mid aisle he introduced us, “Marv, this is Pam, she’s a new comer.”
One, two, three, five, ten, thirteen. I counted us. With me we were fourteen strong in an auditorium that held a hundred and fifty-two.
Who invited you? I asked myself as the worship leader bellowed, “Get excited, you are at CHURCH!”
Non chalontly I whispered to God that I’d made a mistake and now I really needed an escape route. Bathrooms. There had to be bathrooms I could wait this out in.
About then the pastor stepped on stage and wiped his sweaty brow.
“Hello and good Sunday to my fellow addicts and recovering addicts….please greet one another and remind each other- every day sober-is a good day- indeed.”
What? Recovering what? My mind reeled. Before I could answer myself the gentleman four seats over, the one that was approximately as big as an oak tree, wrapped his left arm around me and shouted over the piano, “Isn’t sobriety the BESTTTTTT?”
Who invited you?
One by one, all thirteen of ‘us’ filed in front of me and congratulated me on my sobriety.
And because I’m a recovering sinner I bowed my head and prayed I would neither laugh, cry or pee my pants.
Addicts. Recovering Addicts and yeah even me, a recovering and frequent sinner were all in church yesterday on Palm Sunday…
Who invited me? Well, that would have been GOD. And who invited them. The very same dude.
And as sure as I was that I was not where I should have been, the truth is its Easter week.
We’ve all been invited to the foot of grace and to the throne of love.
We don’t need to get cleaned up, sober, all pretty and perfect we don’t need a better job or more well mannered children. We don’t have to be sinless or even in recovery all we need is to accept the invitation that love has sent and take grace’s hand and embrace the fact that we’ve been invited to do life with GOD.
On Easter. Love sent out invitations to everyone ; the recovering, not even trying, to the self centered and mean even to the conscious greedy one. WOW. God is truly the coolest host ever and on Easter he sends his invitation of love and forgiveness to anyone who accepts it. This is the party that began when love stood in for death and took our place on the cross.
You’ve been sent an invitation- from the God of LOVE.
Photo by praktyczny.przewodnik
Who Invited You?