In July 2018, Dermot and I met the Queen. It was a tremendous honour, and one which involved a significant amount of preparation…new clothes, venues to find and plenty of internet research into protocol (how do we bow/courtesy, how do we address Her Majesty, do we make conversation, what about shaking her hand etc?). The day itself was as perfect as it could possibly have been. The sun shone, there was a tour of the small church in which she regularly worships, a delicious lunch, afternoon tea, a display by the Royal Air Force band, and finally a further meal to the accompaniment of a brass quartet plus performances by soloists from ‘Phantom of the Opera’. We were in heaven!
Do you know, it was completely undeserved? We hadn’t been extremely good, we weren’t being acknowledged for an achievement, we hadn’t made some significant contribution to society and there was no particular milestone in our personal lives which would have caught the attention of royalty.
However, it wasn’t a mistake. The invitation was specifically to us both individually, and the extravagant receptions had our names on the table plans and at our seats. We had clearly been invited!
Isn’t there a parallel here (however weak by comparison) between our experience and the grace of God?
Grace can be defined as free, undeserved Sovereign favour.
Ephesians chapter 2v8-9 states “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no-one can boast.”
Today, I want to remind us of the tremendous unmerited honour of being invited to enjoy the lavish presence of the King of Kings through this grace.
Both are essentially unpacking the generosity spread before us on acceptance of the invitation.
Why not take one or two of those verses and meditate on them?
Now perhaps we could consider wearing something today that would normally be kept for best. It may be a whole outfit, or a piece of jewellery…the choice is yours. Try and keep it on all day, even if it feels a bit out of place. As we confess Scripture from a position of our royal invite, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to cement something into our own spirits that causes us to appreciate the privilege, and receive this extravagant generosity in a whole new way.
I thought today that we could worship out of the poem below
Many Royal invites are being sent into our communities at present, especially through the internet. For example, every time we hit the “share” button on Facebook on a Sunday morning all of our “friends” or the “public” are receiving invitations.
Let’s pray particularly that unexpected people respond to this amazing gift of grace.
(P.S. You may be wondering why we did meet the Queen! It was in honour of an achievement of Dermot’s brother; bringing together faith communities through cricket).