Monday, March 18, 2013
I write my blogs so they are ready to post on Monday mornings, so by the time you read this, everyone will know who is in and who is out in this year’s men’s NCAA basketball tourney. Yesterday was Selection Sunday.
There is usually general agreement about the top seeds and the traditional top tier teams. Everyone expects to ink in Kansas, Louisville, Indiana and Gonzaga. I like the teams that squeak in and get the last few spots in the bracket. For some of them the invitations are few and far between. I have to wonder which is more exciting–knowing you’re a shoe in, or waiting to hear your name called at the last moment?
There will be lots of surprises again this year. There always are. That's why they actually play the games! Some Cinderella team will knock off one of the perennial giants, as David once again meets Goliath and…well, you know the rest of the story.
There will be buzzer beaters, causing both heartache and uncontrollable hysteria. I think the writer of Ecclesiastes knew a little about buzzer beaters when he wrote, “Time and chance happen to us all.” Sometimes the ball rims out; sometimes it’s nothing but net.
Then there are the schools that will be wallflowers this year at the big dance, no invitation for them. Not welcomed. They will have to wait for another year and another Selection Sunday.
Wonder what would happen if we had Selection Sunday at Sardis. You know, deciding or selecting who gets in for worship and who is not welcomed. Remember Will Willimon’s comment, “If you are not here on Good Friday, you don’t get in on Easter!”
You may have noticed the words prominently displayed on our sign. It reads, “All Are Welcome.” It’s never Selection Sunday at Sardis. No one gets picked to come and worship, while others wait outside. There aren’t any “top seeds” entering the sanctuary. No one has to improve and get better. At Sardis, we really mean all are welcome, in our church and in God’s kingdom.
One of the most popular times for people to visit or come back to church is on Easter morning. And you probably know some people who would love an invitation to come and experience Sardis this Easter. The music will be stirring and triumphant. The sanctuary will look beautiful and the crowds will be filled with smiling, friendly faces. And we will hear the most glorious news of all–the promise of eternal life.
What if you said to a few acquaintances or friends this week, “Hey! Want to come to church with me on Easter?” It could be just the invitation they’ve been waiting for.