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On the Side - August 2012

by Sharon Chatwell

“Répondez, s’il vous plaît” is a French phrase meaning “Please respond.” We often abbreviate it, using the letters R.S.V.P. You find it everywhere, especially on formal written invitations, such as those for a wedding. It means that we are to respond to the invitation, letting the one inviting us know if we will attend their event or not.

Sometimes you will see the words “regrets only” added after RSVP, which means that the person inviting you assumes that you will be at their event unless you notify them differently. It is understood that, if you decline their invitation, you do so “with regrets” that you will be unable to attend.

RSVP is a polite way of asking, “Are you coming, or not?” In most cases your host needs to know this so that he or she can reserve you a spot.

I’ve been reserving a lot of spots lately. We’ve been to two weddings this summer, one here in Nebraska and another (which was the event of the season) in Minnesota. (Hi, Robin.)

In addition to these, I have been making lots of reservations of other kinds: hotel, plane, and yes, even rental cars. It seems the last few weeks of summer are going to be the busiest with family vacation plans and our youngest going off to college.

Sometimes it seems that all I’ve done this summer is sit in front of computer screens comparing modes of transport and hotel rates. I’ve reserved so many spots that now I’m considered a frequent flyer…or buyer… or some such advertizing nonsense.

With all the comings and goings, I got to thinking about making reservations in general. I remember the wedding receptions we attended this summer; lovely affairs with wonderful food and lively music. These events took a lot of time and effort to arrange, not to mention expense! Everything was perfect; as if every detail had been carefully thought out and the needs and comforts of each guest thoughtfully provided for.

It occurs to me that each of us has a standing invitation from God. We are invited to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb, which will take place one day in the future. Jesus, the Son of God, will eventually be united with His Bride, the Church; meaning all those who believe on Him as Savior. And God is waiting to see what our response will be to His invitation. He wants each of us to be there.

And I am sure that on that special day everything will be perfect; every detail will be well thought out and planned with each one of us in mind. What an exciting event it will be!

Revelation 19:6-9 describes it this way: Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

Mankind sinned, and in its fallen state it cannot reach out to God, so it is God who reaches out to us. His Son, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, came and died in our place on the cross, canceling the debt of sin forever. Now each one of us can freely accept His gift of forgiveness of sin and be reconciled to God. All of this was provided by Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.

Accepting Jesus as our Savior secures our reservation at the marriage supper of the Lamb. God wants each of us to be there. He holds out His hand to us, inviting us to accept His invitation… waiting for us to RSVP.

In any language, His request to us is the same: Répondez, s’il vous plait.” “Please respond.”

Sharon is a doctor’s wife (and seeming part-time travel agent) living in Lincoln, NE. She wishes each of you happy travels and reminds you to be sure to make your reservations!