My uncles tell a story of their Nan hanging out the laundry on a sunny Sydney morning, when one of them lobbed a mini firework at her heels. They only saw the t-shirts fly and a screaming lady jump through the Hills-hoist clothesline before they fled from her wrath, like escaping rabbits up and over the fences left and right, everyone for themselves.
I was sitting in a church building on a sunny Indiana morning, and after the service I asked a few of the younger folk some questions about Jesus and what this “life forever” involved. The questions were open—I wanted to hear their conclusions without putting words in their mouths or guiding their answers. The responses were shocking. Coming from a completely un-religious background I often felt under-educated—I didn’t (and still don’t) know hymns, and I have no idea about liturgy. However, those kids who had been to church services every Sunday since they were toddlers answered that they have the free gift of eternal life because “I’m a good person and I go to church.”
The thing is that my dad and his brothers are good people (even if Nan got a bit hung up on the mischievous fireworks that day!). They don’t go to church, but they also think that being a good person will get them where they want to go. We know that Jesus is the entrance into Life—for those inside the church’s fence, those on the fence, and even those jumping over it! We don’t have to get hung up about entering into the church building or not, especially when some inside don’t even know the Entrance. Let’s be clear that Jesus is offering life today, for this day, fullness, grace, embrace, a relational new life that lasts for ever.
So let’s invite people on Sunday but not forget to invite people into Life.