You get home from a long, monotonous day at work, or from another dragging day of school, or from a frantic morning of running errands across town like you do every Saturday morning. You pull into the driveway, remove the keys from the ignition, and sit for a second staring at the garage door. Life seems to have grown stale. Every day, the same thing. Wake up. Coffee. Commute. Work. Commute. Dinner. Netflix. Bed. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
But today… today is different. You get home. You go through your routine, checking the mailbox before unlocking the front door per usual. But this time, you open the mail slot and you see something foreign. You see an envelope, but this envelope is not the same old white presorted mail from one of the many credit card companies. No, this envelope is elegant. It is a soft bronze with shimmers of sparkle. You see that it has been addressed to you, but not sloppily written. It was written meticulously in calligraphy. You turn it over, and it is sealed with a beautiful and intricate image; the letters VDMA, which are pressed into wax.
Your intrigue grows, as there is no return address, and you certainly were not expecting anything in the mail. In excitement, you open the ornate envelope and pull out the cardstock that waits inside. You flip it over and a smile slowly stretches across your face. It is an invitation. An invitation for you. Receiving an invitation is exciting. We love the feeling we get when we receive an unexpected invitation in the mail. Whether it is an invitation in a Toy Story themed envelope to a kid’s birthday party, a collage of senior pictures to a grad party, or an elegant and trendy design to someone’s wedding, one thing is for sure; it feels good to be invited. To be included into a select group of people means that you were remembered and thought of and you were wanted there.
You hold the cardstock in your hand and your eyes are glancing over the information, yet you scratch your head because what you’re reading doesn’t make sense. As your eyes flitter and re-read each line your chest starts to pound. The invitation is written in a poetic form and it says,
“The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers; the highest people of the earth languish. Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left. The wine mourns, the vine languishes, all the merry-hearted sigh. No more do they drink wine with singing; strong drink is bitter to those who drink it. There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine; all joy has grown dark; the gladness of the earth is banished.” (Isaiah 25)
This is an invitation to the end of the world. The end of the world is terrifying. It is terrifying for a world who regularly goes against God’s will and actively opposes Him. It is terrifying for a world who places their hope in themselves; in their talents, money, skills, and fame. The end of the world for many people is simply that, the end. The end of the world is scary even for some Christians who believe that they must do something to be saved. For those who believe that their good works are the proof of their faith, or that their good works bridge the gap to salvation, for the Christians who believe God sits on the throne judging us on a gold star system, I understand why it is terrifying. It is an invitation to judgement. We must come to terms with this reality, that Christ has promised us He will return. When He does, He will judge the living and the dead. The question is, who will God see? You and your little tiny list of “good works” or Jesus?
So, imagine that you get home from a long monotonous day at work, or another dragging day of school, or a hectic morning of running errands like you do every Saturday morning. You pull into the driveway and take the keys from the ignition as you sit in the car for a moment staring at the garage door. You go to the mailbox and pull out the ornate, bronze envelope with a wax seal. You open it and inside is an invitation, and on it is written these words in poetic form,
“On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25)
This is your invitation to the end of the world, dear Christian. This is the invitation you have been given by Christ to come to the banquet feast that He has set out before you. He has chosen you. In your times where you feel forgotten, Christ has remembered you. Christ wants you there. This is the hope that we have when Christ returns. That on that day we will not be cast away from the presence of God, but instead we will be brought into a great banquet hall. Imagine the most beautiful wedding reception you have ever been to. This will be better. Imagine the most delicious wine you have ever had. The wine on that day will be better. Imagine the best meal you have ever eaten. The food on that day will be better. Imagine the most prestigious people you have ever rubbed shoulders with. The people here will be better.
On that day when Christ returns, and He will return, He will cleanse the sin from the earth. He will return and He will make all things new here on this earth where He will reign in glory and righteousness. In mercy, He will remove the shroud of sin and evil, He will swallow up death forever, and He will wipe every tear away from your eyes. He is inviting YOU. And on that day, we will join in saying, “Surely this is our God who saved us.” Amen.