“Today, You shall be with me in Paradise”
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We thank you for the invitation to be with you in paradise, to sit at the heavenly table, and to rest eternally from our life’s labor. We thank you for showing hospitality to all regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, age, intellectual capacity, economic status, and social clout. We thank you for showing us what it means to be unselfishly gracious even in the most painful moments. We thank you for reminding us that the Kingdom of God is accessible to the innocent and the guilty, the pulpit and the pew, the ignorant and the wise. We thank you for the invitation to be with you in paradise.
Now, Lord, we ask that you would give us the kind of love that would compel us to invite others into your paradise. May we not be selfish with the Gospel that has transformed our lives. May we let our light so shine that others will see our good works and give you glory. May we resist the temptation to exclude those who are different from us, those whose neighborhoods we avoid and whose physical challenges have been discriminated against. May we look for places at the table where new faces can join in the celebration of life and hope in the presence of the holy. May we be intentional about creating a paradise here on earth so that our love for our neighbors is not a secret or a burden, a chore or a yoke. But may we find liberation in loving our neighbors and joy in seeing new people accept your invitation to paradise.
We thank you for the invitation to be with you in paradise. And Lord, when paradise does not look or feel glamorous, when paradise is not immediate or fit into our schedule, when paradise includes those we might have overlooked or underestimated, may we repent for forgetting that your paradise is so far beyond our imagination. May we repent for forgetting that your paradise cannot be limited to the confines of earthly boundaries or the intolerance of human prejudice. May we repent for forgetting that you are God and your thoughts are higher than our thoughts, your ways are higher than our ways. May we repent for forgetting that this is your paradise.
And now, Lord, we say yes, and yes again to your invitation. We accept your invitation to be with you in paradise and to experience life and life more abundantly. We accept your invitation to joy unspeakable and peace that surpasses all understanding. We accept your invitation to walk by faith and not by sight. We accept your invitation to be with you in paradise. Thank you for inviting us!
IN THE NAME OF THE ONE WHO LOVES TO INVITE THE UNEXPECTED GUESTS…
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