Sometimes words seem to take on a new meaning for me. The word I have focused on in this past week has been "invitation." I first thought about this word some in the context of the sacramental theology class I've been taking. We've had some discussion in the class about the idea that God has taken the initiative in all of our sacraments...that God comes to us, invites us and we respond.
Then I watched my three year old play his favorite game these days...im-ba-tations. He colors on a small slip of paper and then hands them out to me, his sister, anyone else at our house at that time. He tells us these are our im-ba-tations - invitations - to whatever...dinner or bath time or his "party" he's going to have in the basement. What he really is asking you to do is to share an experience with him.
And isn't that typically what we are doing when we invite someone somewhere? Typically we are asking that they share in an experience with us. We're not asking for anything more than the presence of the other at something. In a normal invitation, we are not asking the person to be something, or bring something or perform in any certain way, we just want them to come along and experience whatever it is with us.
Oftentimes I think I have placed restrictions or requirements where God has none. Rather than just accept the invitation, and come along and be with Him/Her, I presuppose I know what God wants from me, expects of me, knows of me. It would seem not enough somehow for God just to want my presence. Of course that is a tall order in many ways. Can I be present, in the here and now, and simply be with God? Can I still my racing mind, drop all the things that *need* to be done today and let ago of my assumptions about God long enough to just "be with"?
I find myself at a loss that God would be inviting me, just for me to come along. Surely there must be something else He/She expects of me - otherwise grace begins to seem cheap. Then I recall just how difficult it often is for me to just be with God. Being with assumes a self-acceptance that I haven't figured out yet. And I realize that this grace is anything but cheap. But it is not costly in all the ways I assumed as a child and young adult. I don't have to be someone else, or do something extraordinary with my life. I simply have to live into who I was meant to be each day. In the small ways and in the everyday moments. I simply have to be willing to be with God. And to be with is challenge enough. I accept the invitation.