And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. Luke 15:20-24

Invitations are precious things. They get you access to an event. They mean you get to join a party. They make you feel seen, known, and valued. Receiving an invitation in the mail can brighten anyone’s day!

The father in this story offers both of his sons an invitation: come celebrate with me. Be part of my family. Experience all that it means to be a son. In telling us this story, Jesus is offering a similar invitation. We too can be part of Jesus’ family, part of his community. But we have to realize, this invitation into Jesus’ kingdom community isn’t for us to hide away and protect only for ourselves. Once we have been invited we have the opportunity and the instruction to invite others too. Part of what it means to be welcomed in to community and kingdom is to bring others with us.

Don’t run away from community this week. Instead, invite others to join with you. At church this Sunday be on the lookout for new people or people who are sitting alone and engage them in conversation. Or, if you’re interested in having conversations with people who are asking questions about faith, become an Alpha leader this fall. Email Pastor Yvonne if you’re interested.

By Jessica Rust

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