"All Are Welcome" (ELW 641)
Let us build a house where love can dwell
and all can safely live,
a place where saints and children tell
how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of Christ shall end divisions:
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.
Let us build a house where prophets speak,
and words are strong and true,
where all God's children dare to seek
to dream God's reign anew.
Here the cross shall stand as witness
and as symbol of God's grace;
here as one we claim the faith of Jesus: Refrain
Let us build a house where love is found
in water, wine and wheat:
a banquet hall on holy ground
where peace and justice meet.
Here the love of God, through Jesus,
is revealed in time and space;
as we share in Christ the feast that frees us: Refrain
Let us build a house where hands will reach
beyond the wood and stone
to heal and strengthen, serve and teach,
and live the Word they've known.
Here the outcast and the stranger
bear the image of God's face;
let us bring an end to fear and danger: Refrain
Let us build a house where all are named,
their songs and visions heard
and loved and treasured, taught and claimed
as words within the Word.
Built of tears and cries and laughter,
prayers of faith and songs of grace,
let this house proclaim from floor to rafter: Refrain
If you've read along with this week's devotions, you won't be surprised that this hymn was chosen for this final reflection. The hymn from yesterday introduced the theme of a place--or perhaps rather a time--in this world when all will be invited to one common table. Since the beginning of the Christian church this table has existed in the Lord's Supper. But even in the Christian church, the sacrament of Holy Communion has sometimes been twisted and misconstrued by the church to be an exclusive meal. But truly, as this hymn communicates, the house of God, the table of God, is a place where all are welcome. The metaphor for a church as a house in this hymn creates a strong foundation from which to build your congregation's identity in your community. So sing this hymn boldly, and take it's lyrics to heart when you discern new ways in which you can make all feel welcome in your congregational home.
Welcoming Lord, give us the courage to admit when we're not being hospitable. Inspire us with your Spirit to create a space where your love is found and we can proclaim from floor to rafter, "All are welcome in this place!" Amen.
"Let Us Go Now to the Banquet," ELW 523
Let us go now to the banquet,
to the feast of the universe.
The table's set and a place is waiting;
come, ev'ryone, with your gifts to share.
I will rise in the early morning;
the community's waiting for me.
With a spring in my step I'm walking
with my friends and my family. Refrain
God invites all the poor and hungry
to the banquet of justice and good
where the harvest will not be hoarded
so that no one will lack for food. Refrain
May we build such a place among us
where all people are equal in love.
God has called us to work together
and to share ev'rything we have. Refrain
Vamos todos al banquete,
a la mesa de la creaciॾn;
cada cual con su taburete
tiene un puesto y una misiॾn.
Hoy me levanto muy temprano;
ya me espera la comunidad;
voy subiendo alegre la cuesta,
voy en busca de tu amistad. Estribillo
Dios invita a todos los pobres
a esta mesa comৄn por la fe,
donde no hay acaparadores
y a nadie le falta el conquच. Estribillo
Dios nos manda a hacer de este mundo
una mesa donde haya igualdad,
trabajando y luchando juntos,
compartiendo la propiedad. Estribillo
Since many congregations celebrate the Eucharist on the first weekend of the month, encourage your pastor and/or church musician to use this hymn sometime. It's festive and filled with hope about a table where all are not only welcomed, but intentionally invited to share in the feast of the lamb. It is the "feast of the universe," a table where all have "gifts to share." In this early part of the season after Pentecost, this hymn celebrates the diversity we're called to embody as Christians the world over. The Spanish words to this hymn come first, because it was written by a Spanish-speaking person. This doesn't mean that English speakers should gloss over those words if they aren't bilingual. Find someone in your congregation who, if not fluent, can remember the basics from Spanish in high school. Have them teach the congregation how to pronounce the words and join in the cacophony of voices that come to the Lord's banquet!
God of the Universe, we give you thanks for the banquet feast in Christ that has no end. Open our hearts and our tables to all your children, where all are equal in love. Amen.