Opening the mailbox back in late April, letters filled it up on this particularly heavy mail day. Nestled in the very back corner and folded into the many letters though sat an envelope. The envelope had a handwritten address on the outside and a neatly embossed return address in the front top corner. This envelope was by no means junk. It was important.

Curious of what may be inside and wanting to preserve the envelope, I carefully opened it up. With peaked interest, I slowly pulled out its contents and eagerly anticipated to read what was in it. What was tucked snug inside of the envelope was an invitation. An invitation to a friend’s wedding in October was inside of it. How exciting!

In a parable for the ages, Jesus tells about “king who gave wedding banquet for his son.” At the heart of the parable is a king’s invitation. The king had sent out an invitation, as listeners hear, many months prior to the occasion. By mail is highly unlikely in that day and age. But nonetheless, the guests had received an invitation and had been given lead time to prepare for this moment. The king considered the invitees very important to him. The king wanted to share the occasion of his son’s wedding with them. Needless to say, the king was flabbergasted when no invitee showed up to the banquet. Who wouldn’t be?

No one showed up. The high honor of receiving such an invitation should have been enough to peak everyone’s interest and create anticipation for the occasion. This was the king that was inviting them to his son’s wedding banquet. Yet, come to find out when the special day arrived the invitees refused to come. Some did not see what the big deal was about the banquet. Others were busy with other responsibilities. Still others were perturbed by the king’s constant reminders.

Invitations are important. One in an invitation wants the gift of invitee’s presence there. One also in an invitation wants to share the gift of their life with the invitee. To not show up matters. Showing up though matters so much more.

Showing up matters so much more. To see the look on the bridegroom, bride, and family’s face when we showed up last weekend to the wedding in Virginia was priceless. It was priceless for us because we were able to share in the beginning of their life together. It was priceless for them because we were immediately greeted with an embrace. What a joy it was to be together!

Each of you have a standing invitation from the one who gathers our communities together week after week and from all the communities of faith in Delaware County. Your showing up matters to us. You are important to us, and we look forward to sharing in faith our lives with you. What a joy it is to be together!

Craig Richter is co-pastor of All Shepherds Lutheran Church in Lewis Center and St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Delaware.