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Invitation Card

Photo by Artsy Vibes on Unsplash

I love weddings and all the traditional ceremonies that accompany them. They are a time of love – families being brought together, of celebration, of feasting, of looking your best- an altogether good time. My niece is getting married but lives in the US with her fiancé, so as a result, the traditional ceremonies which are usually at least 3 have been reduced and condensed into one. So the ruracio(dowry ceremony) and ngurario (kikuyu wedding ceremony) were combined for logistical purposes as it would not make sense for them to keep traveling back and forth.

This particular niece is from my dad’s side of the family, and they always know how to throw a good party that we were all looking forward to. In addition, my aunt (my dad’s sister) married into the president’s family and as a result he was as a family member invited for this function – this piece of information is important as you read the story and reason for this post.

The ceremony was being held in our shags (village) in Gatundu and because of security reasons and due to limited space in the homestead, guests had to have an invitation card. I had my youngest brother’s card with me but we were not riding in the same car and because I got to the function a few minutes before he did, I had to wait for him at the security gate to ensure that he got his card. As I stood at the security gate, I noticed that there were large tents with large screens outside the gate for those people who were coming to the event but who did not have cards. The screens would enable them to see the event from where they were.

As I was waiting for my brother to give him his card, I saw that not only did you need a card, but your name needed to be on the list too (the security was tight, my friends). Standing there gave me a minute to take it all in and experience the euphoric atmosphere – not only were we about to celebrate my niece with our family and friends, but the president was there too! The anticipation of a good day was palpable.  We were all just so happy. Yet at the same time, I recognized that people who did not have the cards were being directed to the large tents with the screens. There was a sense that not everyone was going to get the full experience.

Anyway, after standing there for a while, my brother calls and says that he was trying to get a parking space and it was taking a little longer because of the traffic. I was not willing to wait any longer in the sun – it is so hot these days – so I called him and told him that I would leave his card at the security desk and since some of my cousins, nieces, and nephews were hovering around the desk, I asked them to make sure he got the card.

Looking back to the event, I feel nostalgic as the day lived up to its expectations – it was gorgeous – the décor was Pinterest worthy, it was fun, and there was lots of very tasty food, joy, laughter and love. My niece looked beautiful and happy; and the president gave a personal, heartfelt message. It was just lovely.

However, for some reason, I started thinking about the time I had spent at the security desk and thought about how important it was for me to have my brother get his invitation card so that he could enter and enjoy the festivities with the rest of the family. Then I started thinking about his salvation and wondered whether I am as concerned about if he will enter heaven – where the real feast is and where the real King is. Am I concerned whether he will enter or not enter heaven? Do I speak to him about the gospel which is the real card that will get him into heaven? My aunt’s compound is the metaphor for heaven – there was joy, laughter, love, family and the head of the nation was present. Heaven will be so much more than that and most importantly the real King will be present- “For Kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations”-Psalms 22:28

Further, I remember all the people who were outside the gate in large tents; they were so close yet they did not get to enjoy the full essence of the event. They were watching from a distance. They were there but not really there. Then I thought about the people in my life who are not “bad” people, they go to church, they live an honest life but do not get to enjoy the fullness of Christ because they have not accepted Christ as their savior. Those people who have heard of Christ but have not received Him. They know that there is a heaven, they are so close yet so far, and we know that being close enough is not good enough. Then, of course, there are those who don’t even know how to get into heaven, those who do not know that there is an everlasting life to be spent with the King of Kings – and so I ask myself, am I obeying the command that Jesus gave in Matthew 28: 19-20 to evangelize and go and make disciples?

I realize that just as I was concerned about my brother’s passage through the gates, and his name being on the list, I need to be more concerned about whether he shall go through the gates into heaven and whether he will get onto the right list. I need to be concerned about my friends who are not yet there even though they think they are close. I also need to be concerned about those who don’t even have an idea that there is a place like heaven with an everlasting King.

My last thought about this, is that I was so happy to be going to this function for all the reasons I listed earlier – remember that euphoric feeling in the atmosphere? So I ask myself, am I that excited to be going to heaven? Do I look forward to it, I am getting ready for it (I changed my outfit several times before the event), do I long to hang out with my spiritual family – that is my sisters and brothers in Christ, and lastly, do I want to meet King Jesus the same way I was looking forward to shake the president’s hand? I wonder…

Be blessed.

Written by
Joyce Wanjiru
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Written by Joyce Wanjiru