By Elaine Knudtson
“O Come All Ye Faithful” sung by Josh Groban
The Invitation to Come
Isaiah transforms the distant God of judgement, vengeance and wrath to one who invites us to come and quench our thirst. More like a shepherd than a mighty warrior, the Messiah is portrayed as approachable, caring—a champion of our needs.
Dear Lord, we respond to your love as seen in the shepherd who carries us through the waters and invites us to come and quench our thirst.
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.” Rev. 21:6-7
1“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for He has endowed you with splendor.
12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” Isa. 55:1, 12.
We stood outside the gates at the back of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna along with the other tourists who were admiring the architecture, history and priceless art work. A small congregation was celebrating mass, apart from the crowds near the front altar. All at once they began singing a familiar hymn in English. I was overcome with tears as I identified with those Christians who saw the cathedral not as a museum, but a place of worship. We spoke to the usher at the gate and asked to be let in to join them. “It’s a service,” he stoically declared. “We know. We have come to worship,” we said as we walked past him and took our place with the congregation, no longer outsiders.
Advent is our invitation to join the descendants of Jacob as God’s own children. We come, not as part of our birthright, but through the grace and invitation of God who proclaims, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.“ We have not earned a position at the table; the cost was paid by God himself, made possible through the gift of Jesus Christ.
Points to Ponder
- Have you ever felt excluded from an event because you did not have an invitation to be there?
- What if access to God were limited to the Jewish people? How would the world be different?
- Grace is unearned, freely given, lavish. Consider God’s open invitation to you to be His child. What does it cost you to say “yes”?
O Lord we have been invited to participate in your grace through Jesus Christ. You opened the way for us, despite the fact that we were not your people. Thank you for your generosity; give us an appreciation of what it cost you.