Grace Community Christian Reformed Church of Oak Lawn, Ill., warmly welcomed delegates, denominational staff, and visitors to Synod 2010 with a service of prayer and praise on Sunday, June 13.
The service celebrated the generosity of a God who seeks out people from all the ends of the earth and invites them to the banquet table of the kingdom.
Worshipers found themselves participating directly in the celebration through the responsive reading of Scripture and the format of the sermon itself.
Rev. Michael Kooy, pastor of Grace Community, presented the sermon together with Rev. John Wilczewski, church planter for neighboring Jacob’s Well Church Community in Evergreen Park. Several times during the message the pastors invited worshipers to share their thoughts and reflections.
The message focused on Jesus’ parable of the host whose guests refuse to show up at his banquet after initially accepting his invitation. The frustrated host then shows radical hospitality, ordering his servants to bring people in off the streets so the seats at his table will be filled.
This story about our hospitable God calls all of us to issue that same invitation to all who will come, including those who would be more than surprised by the invitation, Kooy said.
The pastors left this challenge with the worshipers: “Are we prepared to give the best we have to strangers without expecting anything in return? Do our neighbors know our house as a feast, as an example of the radical hospitality of God?”