There's a church down the street. It is neither my Old Church or my New Church, but I used to work at a living history museum with one of their lay leaders, so I feel a mini-connexion with it anyway.
They have one of those signs out front where you can put out the movable white letters on the black backdrop and either announce church events, or put a thought-for-the-period-of-time-before-you-remember-to-put-the-next-thing-up-there.
Back in September and October the sign said, "Everyone is invited at God's table."
For the entire time it was up, whenever I would drive by, I would do a little grammar-and-theology shuffling with that verse. Something doesn't seem quite right, but I still can't make it say what it seems like it should, to be both grammatically and theologically correct.
To me, "Everyone is invited at God's table," sounds like what we often do in the Church anyway. We sit around and look at everyone already at the table (as we assume, anyway) and yeah, we're all invited. The question is, to what? If we're already there, what's next? Going into the Divine Family Room to watch angel football?
Or maybe it's one of those assertions of the obvious: "See all those people at the table there? They were invited." Oh. I guess it's comforting to know there are no gatecrashers? I guess?
I thought maybe it should have said, "Everyone is invited to God's table." That could, I suppose, sound like we can just help ourselves to the table and leave. But when I first thought of it, it was in the context of the invitation through Jesus being open to everyone, and we just have to accept the invite. I suppose it could be further clarified by saying, "Everyone is invited to come to God's table," or to "dine at God's table." Or something.
My dad suggested it could say "Everyone is welcome at God's table," which I think probably says the "invited to" thing a little better, although it might imply, "under any conditions," which, if the conditions were without the received forgiveness of Christ, I think would also be erroneous.
In spite of all the brainwaves being invested in this conundrum, the letters on the board did not move. I still have questions, though. The first one is, do you think we as Christians act as if we're the only invited ones, sometimes? What do you do with the "many are called but few are chosen" verse, and are any of the above sign-posting suggestions valid in light of that? Are we actually supposed to do anything with that verse, or should we just treat everyone as if they were both called and chosen? And if we did that, what would it look like?