Pastor Steve Brown
Greetings to the Saints of St. Mark!
12The Lord said to Moses, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12)
You are invited. Those three words are always exciting to read as a child or as an adult. You are invited means a celebration or something special is going to take place and I get to be a part of it. You are invited means someone cares about me, wants me to be a part of the celebration. And if someone wants me to be a part of the special event, then you are invited means my absence might take away from the day. It might be a little less because I’m not there. You are invited are words of belonging and inclusion, welcome and love, excitement and sharing with others.
Worship is an invitation from God. It is a you are invited. It goes back to creation when the six days of God’s work were over after He had created humanity in His image. The first day for humans was God’s seventh day. He set the day apart, blessed it and hallowed (as in made it “special”). God created a space and a place a time for men and women to be able to meet with Him, physically participate with Him, intentionally and consciously and attentively. It is interesting that the sign God gave Moses at the burning bush that the deliverance of His people from captivity in Egypt would be their ability to worship. Moses would know God was involved because the end of the story would be worship. When the people of Israel were free to meet with God, in a space and place and time to come, it would be a new day. The words of Genesis echoing in the fulfillment, the sign, God gave Moses. It was His invitation for the people to worship. When God works there is grace and worship.
Worship’s invitation carries with it that sense of intentionality and consciousness and attentiveness because of the physicality of being present and bringing our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls to the task. It is always a choice and an effort to respond to someone’s you are invited. In the Ten Commandments, we are reminded to
8 Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do
all your work. 10 But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God; . . .
It is the Lord’s Sabbath, its emphasis is “to Him.” It is His invitation and, might I add, His celebration. His party. And you are invited.
Like any celebration or special event, it is a gathering of others, of special people in the eyes – and heart – of the host. You are invited means you and I are to share with others this special occasion and event. There is a “we-ness,” an inclusion and belonging that unites us to the host and all the attendees. This is to say you are invited means you are desired to be there and need to be there. Or you miss something. Something will not be shared and will be missing from your life.
I know during these COVID19 times that the ability to gather with others for worship is not easy – but it is still important. And for literally God’s sake and your sake and our sake, please be there. And if you can’t be there in person, join in over the internet. It won’t feel the same but you will share in the space and time, the intentionality, consciousness, and the attentiveness of worship. After all . . . you are invited!
With Joy, Steve