As I scanned the room electric with people from such vastly different backgrounds, yet interacting in such dynamic ways, I couldn’t help but seeing this as a snapshot of the Kingdom Banquet Jesus describes in Luke 14. All having been invited because of some personal connection with someone in our community, I talked with a New Age Spiritual Director, a Jewish Atheist, a local newspaper reporter, an expecting mother who had recently experienced divorce, a bunch of guys who we play sports with from our local community center and many, many others.
Each year we (part of NieuCommunities) host a Neighborhood Christmas Party in Golden Hill. It is a time to celebrate and gather all of the dynamic relationships that have been budding forth in our neighborhood. As a covenant community living on mission, our small band of Jesus followers has exponentially extended its influence through shared commitments of listening, submerging and inviting. As the “Green House” (what we call a big green Victorian home that serves as one of our community hubs) filled with guests, it was clear that this was the culmination of what God was faithfully doing in and among us as we sought to be good news in the neighborhood. Stories were being shared among those that otherwise may never interact and God’s Story was unfolding as a direct result. This was a place where God’s dreams for humanity were becoming reality; a thin place. Somewhere heaven and earth are only thinly separated.
There is a profound connection between the act of extending an invitation and the work God has in store for all Creation. When we invite, we are reflecting the characteristics of God’s Kingdom. An invitation is the doorstep of a restoration to community. With Jesus, God’s restoration project came to a culmination in the inaugurating of a Kingdom that would extend and be available to all people in all places. Whether simply inviting a friend from the local coffee shop to a Christmas party or extending the radical invitation of Jesus apprenticeship to an aspiring leader, God’s heart and plan is revealed through the inviting posture adopted by his people.