There's something special about being invited to something, isn't there? I mean, I don't know about you but when I receive an invitation in the mail - particularly - there's a sense of excitement that comes over me. Now, that could be largely due to the fact that hey, snail mail is going the way of the dodo, buffalo, and various other sadly extinct creatures. It's exciting not just to get a letter, but to be invited to be part of something.
It's not just letters, though. In the middle of summer, I get excited also by invitations to come and see the latest blockbuster. Weeks after the movie, if you came and asked me not about the plot of the movie and what I thought about it, but about the last movie I had seen in theaters, I would probably say I saw _________________ with ____________.
Seeing the movie becomes memorable because of who I saw it with. The movie could have totally stunk, but I'll remember that I saw it with my friends, family, or wife.
And what I think this shows us is that, to a large degree, there's a communal element to inviting. At the start of His earthly ministry, Jesus went around calling each of His disciples, who in turn - according to the Gospel of John - encouraged one another to "come and see" the Christ, the Messiah. And one by one, as they encountered Jesus, they began to seek to understand what He was all about. But that wouldn't have happened if they weren't willing to drop their nets and whatever they were doing, and follow Jesus.
to come and see.
In those few words, one can understand that there is a communal element to inviting - to becoming a part of something and doing something greater as a result. It means doing or going somewhere different from where one is now (the word 'come') and accomplishing something ("see"). That can even be something as small as seeing a movie together.
This past week, I was privileged enough to get a chance to "go and see" what my sister, Amy, has been up to these past weeks as she begins to conclude her trek along the Pennsylvania stretch of the Appalachian trail to raise funds and awareness for Progeria research. Amy had hoped that this would be something others would get a taste for - to come and see - so she might pass the baton or share the flame (which-ever metaphor you like) of this cause. As it's nearing the end of her time, it's been a real privilege to see how many people have come out in support of Nathan and Bennett, this cause, and Amy's Hike.
Amy's hope in a sense is both an invitation, and a challenge:
Specifically, Will we give wings of hope to these two boys? To all the children diagnosed with this disease?
What would we put down our nets for, or cross mountains for?
Will we invite others along the journey, even if it were to become rocky or dangerous?
Will we carry the torch, even when there are no more mountains to cross?
As Amy's hike comes to a close, what a privilege it was to be able to go and see what she is doing on a daily basis and to be a part of her calling. But what a greater privilege to each of us to have an open invitation on the table: to follow our Lord's call and to do something greater even after her miles have reached their end.
Feel free to check out video from the day hike here:
Hike4Hope: A Day Hike from Kevin Ruhf on Vimeo.
Please note, if you're using some kind of mobile device (i.e., phone/tablet, etc.) and are having trouble viewing the above video on this site, click or tap the link "Hike4Hope: a day hike" which should take you directly to the video on Vimeo. There's been a few folks saying they weren't able to watch on their phones, but the link appears to be working on the computer. :)
-Kevin J. Ruhf
(Amy's Brother...and don't worry, I got permission to write!)