Becoming a welcoming church was important. Whenever I was out in the community people asked me many questions, especially when I was dressed in my clerical garb. It became apparent that the greatest gift I could bring was a word of God's love, freely given. One woman forthrightly expressed to me how she never felt she lived up to the perceived demands of the God she'd known, sensing that God was always "mad at her." God helped me sooth her tears with words of grace. On another occasion someone knocked on the church door but was unwilling to step inside because he "wasn't good enough to enter." Again, only in hearing about God's grace was he freed up to join our community where there was much evidence of shattered lives. The gospel of Jesus carries an ultimate welcome, and in offering it, we ourselves receive the gift. Funny how that works!
Welcoming Lord, amidst our shattered lives your love is poured out, always embracing us despite our unworthiness. Amen.
Matthew 10:40-42 (NRSV)
40 "Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.
41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous;
42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."