There’s a common theme as you read through the stories in the first four books in the New Testament. Jesus interacts with people that are outcasts, the people everyone can see but nobody wants to notice. Jesus takes the time to turn cultural practices on its head and notices the unnoticeable. Here are some examples: Luke 7:36-50; Luke 8:43-48; Luke 13:10-17; Luke 19:1-9.
As a church we have concluded a series entitled, “Invitation”. From stories on how to say, “yes” to God’s adventures, to inviting others into our lives or being invited into someone elses world, invitation is a practice we’ve tried to embody over the past year.
The final piece, and an idea for us to take away and practice, is one that’s intricately linked to salvation.
For evangelicals, salvation has unfortunately been reduced to a very specific and individualized experience. The ‘invitation of salvation’ has been largely internalize as a singular prayer experience. This concept needs to be challenged because it lacks the robust connection into God’s dream to restore all things which extends far beyond the haphazard notion of ‘saving someone from hell’ that’s been popularized as bare bones minimum Christianity by some.
Here is what our community has been practicing: our role in invitation is connected to the salvation God is working, not merely for the one off conversion, but for the pursuit of final reconciliation of the whole world.
What does that pragmatically look like? Writer Dallas Willard puts it this way, “we put people into motion within the kingdom of God.” This is the crux of invitation–we invite those to draw closer to to God’s Kingdom and the salvation held in that hope.
Our question as a community is: who are you putting into motion within the kingdom of God?
One way to think about this idea is to add a liturgy, or rhythm, to our lives in an effort to not only preview this Kingdom for others, but to go deeper in our own spiritual formation wherever we may be on that journey.
Think about this idea: how many people do you notice every day? It could just be in passing, the barista, maybe a coworker. Sometimes you’re noticing people who are close to you, maybe a family member, a good friend. As we walk through this week, this month, this year, would you try something out?
When you notice someone would you pray for them? Right then and there.
What would it look like to incorporate a new liturgy of prayer surrounding the people you notice? Anybody, everybody, when you notice them pray for them. Ask God to reveal a situation, a person, a moment. If anything, this practice will help us realize how many people we can notice throughout our day. This practice start with a simple prayer, but once a habit, transforms invitation to a deeper connection with our unfolding relationships and the unfolding Kingdom.