When I think of invitations, I think of birthdays and parties and weddings. I think of awkward interactions involving handshakes and talking about schedules and potential meeting places. But, St. Andrew has shown me an invitation is so much more than stationery and small talk.
It’s a gentle nudge, a message on Facebook, a personal note left on a desk. It’s an urging to come and see something I wouldn’t have seen on my own. The people here at St. Andrew have pushed me to come and see the goodness God is working here in our community in many more ways than I can count.
My first day on staff was a staff retreat and I was invited to come and see a community of people who wouldn’t care I always need tissues because my emotions spill down my cheeks. I get to come into this office every day and see a group of people doing good work for God by loving on His people through organizing meals and creating bulletins and balancing the church’s budget.
I walk into Youth Group on Sunday nights. I get to see how real and tough the lives of our teenage friends can be and how they can still see God through all the homework and friendship and general angst that comes from being in high school. Yes, we put together activities and snacks and lessons and videos for them to come and see…but really, we get to sit back and just see them learn how our big God is moving in all of our lives.
I declared Jen Seger my new BFF before I’d even met her because I knew she’d be awesome. I was right, of course; she lets me be awkward and weird and shows me how I can still come and see the goodness God has for me just as I am. As soon as she arrived she invited me to come and see what an amazing group of women meet on Fridays for Oasis. Those women have welcomed me with hugs and excitement for God.
How do we invite people to come and see what we’re doing here? I think it starts with letting them see us first. With all the tissues and painful small talk and obnoxious loud laughs – if we let people see our heart, then they’ll want to come and see what it is that makes us who we are, what makes us so comfortable with sharing or crying or laughing louder than anyone else in the room. What makes our faces shine bright even though things aren’t super right now and maybe we didn’t sleep enough. Because our God is bigger than the number of hours we slept and bigger than our earthly worries. Our God invites us to come and see.