Read: Romans 15:7 CEB
Welcome each other, in the same way that Christ also welcomed you, for God's glory.
Most church pastors can relate to an experience I have had time and time again. A person enters a church service for the first time and sits in an empty pew, and a long-time member approaches with the comment, "You are sitting in my pew." Sometimes I've been able to retrieve the situation in a graceful way unless it escapes my notice.
On occasion, I have preached the important word that we are all children of God. All of us matter to God, and all of us need God, and each other. When we are able to attend in-person worship or any gathering of the Christian community, we should remember that our calling as Christians is not complete when we find a place to sit in the church. We need to get up, and share grace as we welcome everyone, just like Jesus welcomed us. Doing so not only brings glory and honor to God, but it warms our hearts and, more importantly, the new persons who have entered the worship community on that day.
More than that, when we welcome the stranger, we welcome Jesus. Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.
(Matthew 25:40) The new person who enters our community likely feels like they are the other. It is an act of great courage on their part. They come for a whole host of reasons; searching for God, going through a time of great personal pain, looking for anyone who cares, hoping to find a friend. Will anyone speak to me? Who knows what is going through their heart and mind?
Surely the least we can do for everyone is share a gracious, welcoming spirit to all. Welcome one another in the same way Jesus welcomes us, for the glory of God.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, remind us of the kindness, grace, and love you have shown us that we may share that gracious spirit with everyone we meet. In the name of Jesus, the Christ we pray