I picked up the invitations as I left church two weeks ago; for the final Friendship Sunday of the summer.
We've had two "Friendship Sundays" so far over the hot summer months; church services that are deliberately welcoming to visitors. Dress is casual, we have a short and engaging service, and then a BBQ lunch with everyone bringing salads and desserts to share.
It's been fun and I've enjoyed these Sundays. They feel festive and friendly and I've seen many new faces in church.
I've been great at bringing salad and dessert; not so great at bringing a friend.
So that's why I picked up a bunch of the invitations to a corn roast, printed on stiff card and gaily decorated. This time I would invite everyone in our neighbourhood, I thought.
But instead of giving them out, I didn't. Last Sunday came and I beat myself up before leaving for church with a salad and a Bavarian Apple Torte, feeling badly that yet again I would arrive without the most important ingredient.
It didn't take long for me to realize that something else was out of place. There were no tables set up downstairs, and no other food in the kitchen. I realized that Friendship Sunday was August 25, not August 18. I wondered if this was a hint of what my life was going to be from here on--me showing up for things on the wrong day!
But this did mean that I still had a chance. All was not lost.
Tonight at cell group as we prayed at the end, I asked for prayer that I would have the courage to give the invitations out--not be so shy and reticent. Every time I thank God for the blessing of knowing him intimately, I try to imagine my life without this relationship with him, and I can't. I am so grateful that he walks with me through all of my highs and lows.
Why then am I so reluctant to invite my neighbours to share in the joy that I know?
Susan stayed behind for a second cup of decaff coffee after cell group. As she walked through the kitchen she put down her empty cup, glanced at my neat stack of invitations waiting there and said, "See, that's your problem--I hid mine!"