a reflection of Jesus; a picture of grace, redemption.
A place to belong, an environment to grow in relationship with community; love in action, Christ fleshed out through everyday circumstance and situation.
Often times, I wonder how an unChristian might feel if they walked through the doors of my church. How do they perceive us? How are they treated? Do they feel welcome? Are they loved well? Are they walking away with an accurate image of the character of Christ?
This afternoon I had a realization. I’m a people rater. I tend to grade them on how they appear to me. I place their importance on the decisions they have made, on the life they live. Why do I do this?
Quite frankly, I’m disgusted with my habit.
The bible is quiet clear that not only are we all made in the image of God, but that He allowed his only son killed for the redemption of our sins.
Your sins and mine, all erased. In the eyes of Christ we are both loved. We are both valued, simply because we are made in His likeness. What we’ve done, what’s been done to us doesn’t change our value in the eyes of the Lord.
He longs for a relationship with you, with me and with the man on the corner.
Below is an except from a catholic church bulletin. Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Community Church has a beautiful grasp on the understanding of what it means to welcome anyone and everyone who walks through the doors of the church.
Although we do not share a common faith, I pray I would follow their lead and adopt the same loving and welcoming attitude towards everyone I meet.
We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.
We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.
If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!
We are all sinners. We are all in desperate need of redemption. No matter where you’ve been, what you’ve done or what’s been done to you, your worth is changeless.
We all need Jesus. How I treat others either reflects an accurate or inaccurate image of who he is. I’ve yet to hear of someone who has felt condemned and excluded from the Christian community and then felt compelled to get to know Jesus. My actions, your actions either lead or repel others towards or away from Him.
We Christians have the only answer to any question ever worth asking, the destination to any journey worth pursuing, the meaning to any life worth living. Our attitude to any and everyone who walks through the doors of our churches ultimately has to point them to Jesus.
Home is where the heart is. Life is where Jesus is. The church is where it’s all fleshed out, the good, the bad and the ugly.
You need Jesus. I need Jesus. If you visit my church, I’ll do my best to welcome you home.