Called to Radical Hospitality

Come and See

O, we ‘been sayin’ it. ‘Messaging it. ‘Meaning it, for sure. Come and see. Go and tell. Dare to share. Here is radical hospitality, deep welcome. GOSPEL: Good News! Last week we saw/heard how some 40 of our youth/adults dared to share the love of God in Jesus Christ by restoring homes and renewing spirits this summer. But it all begins with an invitation from Jesus. COME and SEE. If the entire Gospel of John were a hymn, the refrain, the chorus, the repeated line would be just this. Come and see. First Jesus says it. ‘Then the disciples, over and over. And it sounds so lovely, simple, clear. Until you really try it. And most of us have been tryin’: for a little while, or a lifetime. Here’s the thing…

If we’re gonna come to Jesus, we gotta leave where we are. We gotta leave behind alotta what we ‘been luggin’ around, maybe for a long time. And we gotta get goin’, knowin’ we gotta long way to go. O, I admit it, coming along with Jesus is not easy! Still, the Savior beckons, inviting and insistent. So what will you do? You can’t just stay put and come along with Jesus. Change will be required. Ay, there’s the rub! Isaiah, the old-prophet-Jesus-so-favored had the hang of this long before Christ. Here’s his first word on the subject. “HO, EVERY one who thirsts, come to the waters….” Too many of us miss the “HO” before trying to “Hightail after Jesus.” I mean, we just keep doin’ what we’re doin’. ‘Bein’ who we’re bein’. Relying on whom/what we’re relying… and so on. Isaiah puts a stop sign right in our spiritual, behavioral, attitudinal path.  “HO!” If you fret, quit fretting. If you doubt, quit doubting. If you fib, quit fibbin’. If you fear, stop running. If you drink, quit drinking. If you lust, stop leering. If you indebt yourself, quit charging. GOT IT? HO! Stop. Then let go. Put down your anger. Release your resentment. Trade in your catalogues-of-wants for a little Bible-talk about blessings. Teach your kids to get a kick outta soccer, but the sign of salvation outta Christ. Get a start on getting’ close to God through Jesus. …How many? How many in this room & around this old world on World Communion Sunday are thirsty. Not Coke or Pepsi or Perrier thirsty, but soul thirsty? And, as the prophet says, drinking from somewhere, or something that just leaves you, well… thirsty?! Isaiah invites, “Come to the waters.” Jesus says, “Come unto meI …am the water of life. Drink of me and you’ll never be thirsty. (Let this bread be my body and my body your bead …and you’ll never be hungry, ever again!)” …I love it that on that shoreline-of-the-Jordan where John was baptizing, two of his disciples were still thirsty, and a might peckish in the passion of their souls. They were hungry for God. And John said to them, “Why, just look… over there, the Lamb of God.” And they heeded the “Ho” sign. ‘Stopped doin’ what they were doin’ (hangin’ out with John) and followed Jesus. He turned, saw them, asked their hearts’ desire. And he invited, “Come and see!” And they followed. What about you? Jesus is still inviting. In fact, he’s set a fine table in the Spirit. ‘Wants you to step out, step up and come! But should you do so, he will ask, “What do you see?”

Coming to Jesus doesn’t quite get it done, friends. Come and see, says he! It is time. ‘Well past time.. to open our eyes. Those earliest followers got an eye full. And it took them ‘til well past the Resurrection morning to see. But at least they began, early on, to open their eyes. Come, yes. But look, too. Open your eyes and see. This Jesus has something different to show for this world… and the next! In that day as this, the world is intent on an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth… ‘til all the world is blind and dark and gummy! Jesus shows, “Love your enemies and pray for those who spitefully use you.” In a world of snooty, self-righteous, self-absorbed souls, where many a prayer, whispered if not spoken starts, “Lord, I thank you that I am not like that other soul…”, in such a world, Jesus hears the prayer of the sinner who signals, “Lord, have mercy on me, a stray person in need of stern pardon.” At a time when so many strive for crowns of influence and crescendos of praise, Jesus will bow for a plat of thorns and a cross that pardons. At a time when we spy kids with no hope, marriages with little certainty, and illnesses without comfort… Jesus breaks out of a rock-solid tomb, offers at least one relationship (with him) that redeems, and sets a table that silences every suffering of body, mind and soul. So should you accept his invitation to COME… open your EYES…. For surely Christ will want to know… WHAT DO YOU SEE? … & then, I assure you, he’ll be praying, GO & TELL.

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