Everyone is Welcome Here

June 29, 2015

This morning as I sit reading through social media outlets, I see posts as varied as the people represented there. Looking for the good, I am encouraged by people who choose to speak about love and grace and mercy.

My eyes wander to our dining room wall, where Kyle recently hung a favorite quote of mine I came across last fall. It states, "Come on in, there is always room at the table for you." It's a welcome beacon over my dining room table, reminding me of what I as a Christian am called to do.

Love my neighbor.

I think about Jesus's life on earth, how he invited people into community who were very different from him, including his enemies. I remember that he was called a drunkard and a glutton--not because he was those things, but because he chose to hang around people who were. I'm reminded of the words my pastor so frequently offers us, "You can belong here before you believe."

I wonder how many of the conversations we see on our media feeds would change if we would be willing to invite people in? If we would gather round our tables and have conversations, face to face? If we looked another person in the eye and started by seeing what makes us alike, not just what makes us different.

To see the humanity that is in each other. To embrace one another, even if we don't embrace the same beliefs. To remember that there are real people with real feelings behind all these issues.

Rather than throwing out blanket statements and generalizations, or feeling justified that we've done a good job as a Christian in sharing our faith by offering our opinion, perhaps we need to do more. Instead of being unwilling to put the time and energy it actually takes to get to know someone who is different than we are, we need to take the time to love them right where they're at.

This is not an easy task, I know. It takes time. Life can get a little messy. We may even be questioned or called names by others. But I believe this is the work that Jesus calls us to do.

And so, my door is open to you, friend--gay or straight, Christian or not, black or white, sinner or saint--you are welcome at my table. I'd like to start a conversation; I'd like to know who you are.

"The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’" Luke 7:34