Signs of Love
By Terry Brown of Pigeon, MI, USA
He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed…” —Luke 14:12–14 NRSV
I’ve seen many funny signs, including versions of one that says “Dogs Welcome, People Tolerated.” Those of you who are dog lovers understand the sign’s meaning that dogs are great, especially compared to people with whom it’s hard to get along.
While driving, I’ve seen signs that read “Visitors Welcome.” They are often posted with the intent of making a few dollars from the visitors. Sometimes pastors place them on church property with hopes of filling empty pews.
This has me wondering what we mean when we welcome others. Whom do we want in our church community and whom do we feel we must tolerate? What would the sign in front of your Community of Christ congregation look like?
“Good People Welcome”
“Stable Individuals Welcome”
“Friendly Types Welcome”
“Needy People Welcome”
“Insecure Folks Welcome”
“Lost Souls Welcome”
I’m afraid I often find myself praying for people to join our movement that will meet my needs much more than for those who sorely need the good news. If only we had the courage to freely put out specific welcome signs that identify those whom Jesus wants us to reach. We might find ourselves changing not only our words, but the world.
Prayer for Peace
Humble ourselves to understand that you, God, have found us in our places of need and accepted us as family. Help us do the same with others. Amen.
Meditate on Unity in Diversity. Create a large circle with your arms. See and feel the diverse people God invites inside the sanctuary of Christ’s peace represented by this circle.
Who is easiest to welcome? Whom do you struggle to include? Confess the dividing walls between you and people too different or “challenging” to invite into your spiritual home. Ask God to forgive and heal barriers that keep us from loving one another.
Today, God, I will look to the stranger as one in need and as a friend indeed.