To my fellow pilgrims on the path of resurrection life
Last Saturday, mom and I spent a lovely afternoon at Tambea Kitchen and Garden learning a little more about gardening in Australia – and, more specifically, in Wagga’s difficult climate. (I won’t go into detail about the caramelised pear and ginger cake that we also enjoyed over afternoon tea but it definitely deserves a mention). One idea that the presenter kept coming back to, however, was the importance of thinking about your entrance – whether you live on a farm, in a cottage, in the suburbs, and even in a flat. Your entrance not only makes a first and lasting impression, but it also tells people something about who you are and lets them know where you want them to go and what door you would like them to enter in by.
Alongside Janice’s joy-filled induction service and the celebration of Mother’s Day (which becomes a little more awkward each year for many preachers due to our deepening awareness of who might feel left out or even be hurt by their memories), the myriad pictures of bold and creative entrances that we were shown has had me thinking a lot about how we extend God’s welcome to our community:
~ what do our entrances say about us?
~ how do people know where to go?
~ does our welcome encourage them to enter through the door of our church and the Door of Life?
As we continue to journey with the book of Acts and the stories of the church coming to life in this season of Eastertide, we encounter the apostle Peter freshly returned from Joppa where many had come to profess faith in the resurrected Christ. His greeting by the believers in Jerusalem is not quite what we might expect:
“The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, ‘You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.’” Acts 11:1-2
And so Peter explains:
~ his vision of God making what he considered impure clean,
~ the timely invitation to Caesarea,
~ and how he witnessed the gift of God’s Spirit to the Gentiles.
THEN the disciples rejoice at how God is opening up the way, expanding the kingdom to include those that they had not judged worthy!
As Revelation 21:1-6 reminds us today: God is moving into the neighbourhood. Heaven, in Christ, is coming to earth. And the Church exists as a sign of this Truth.
As God makes God’s dwelling place with all people, I wonder how we can offer a cheerful entrance and a warm welcome rather than the unspoken
which shows on so many faces when the unexpected and “unwanted” show up.
This week, may we be particularly aware of the opportunities to extend God’s welcome to friend and neighbour and stranger.
Yours in Christ