Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An invitation

Penny told me about a fellow student who had arrived in the painting studio happy. Why her happiness? Someone had invited her to church. That person, she said, thought enough of her and enough of the church to invite her to Sunday worship.

Sadly, many of us Christians are hesitant about inviting people to our churches. I'm not sure why. Perhaps we don't want to be thought pushy. Or we don't want to be told no. Or --could it be?--we don't want others to think of us as evangelicals, as if that were a bad thing.

Thank God, Mary Magdalene, the first witness to the resurrection, was eagerly evangelical, telling the disciples, "I have seen the Lord."

In our hesitancy, we fail in our baptismal call to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ--to tell others, in our own words, how our relationship with him helps us overcome fear, stress, suffering and live in confidence, hope, joy.

As a consequence, people who are hungry for Christ and for a connection with him through the church--sometimes without even knowing it--go away unfed, and our churches are poorer for their absence.

No wonder many mainline churches are declining in membership, including the Episcopal Church, while evangelical churches--whose members are excited and articulate about the saving power of Jesus Christ and of his life-changing love--are exploding?

This Holy Week, why not let someone know that you care about him or her and that you care about your church? Invite that person to attend worship with you this Sunday, Easter Sunday, properly called the the Sunday of the Resurrection.

Together, you'll hear the proclamation of the Good News in word, sacrament, and fellowship:
God raises Jesus from the grave, defeats death, and opens up life to us in its fullness now and forever.

That's the Good News that Mary Magdalene shares with the disciples, news that disciples have shared with others for more than two-thousand years, news that Christ calls us--evangelicals, all--to share with others.

And that sharing can begin with a simple invitation to church this Sunday, which says: "I care about Christ. I care about my church. And I care about you."

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