On Sunday we will celebrate communion during worship. Before the bread and the cup are shared, I will say, “Everyone is welcome at God’s table. Whether you have been here hundreds of times before or whether this is a first occasion, whether you are filled with faith or overcome with doubt, whether you are sure of who God is or whether you are searching for even a glimpse of God in your life, you are welcome here.”
Sometimes I use words like, “Everyone is welcome here – old, young, and in-between, gay, straight, transgender, and questioning, people of all races and cultures, all are welcome here.” Each month I wonder how to express the welcome that God offers. God’s inclusion is so broad that it can be challenging to express in words.
How should we describe it? Everyone is welcome here…
– Those who need forgiveness and those who are seeking to forgive
– Those who are addicted, those who are celebrating sobriety, those who are seeking to live life one day at a time
– Those who are angry and seeking solace, those who are worried and searching for reassurance, those who are broken-hearted and feel as if they will never be happy again, those whose lives have been shattered by violence, illness, or loss
– Those who are parents or grandparents who rejoice in love shared and those who review past moments with an aching regret, worrying about words spoken or unspoken to those they love.
– Those overwhelmed by the responsibilities of care-giving who wonder if they will make it through one more day, one more meal prep, one more doctor’s visit, one more sleepless night
– Those who feel permanently, constantly, achingly unwelcome because of their race, gender, or sexuality
– Those who are overworked and those who are unemployed; those whose calendars are overbooked and those who yearn to fill empty days and hours
Who is welcome? All of us. Us, in all of our variations, differences, and commonalities. Every single one of us – we are welcome in God’s sight and invited to God’s table.
What joy, what relief, what reassurance.
Come and eat.
Taste and enjoy.
Receive the gifts of a loving God.
This is the message, the Good News, that we – as the church and as individuals – are called to live out every day. We are meant to express and embody God’s love, forgiveness, and new life at work, at home, and in the world.
Who do you know that needs that message of love, forgiveness, and inclusion? How can you find a way to convey kindness and understanding?
And be sure to invite them to church sometime – let them know that they are always welcome here.