Reading: Revelation 1: 4-8
At times our churches and faith can be private or exclusive is one is not already a member. Sometimes we do this by using insider language or by expecting guests or seekers to know how we do things or to look and behave just like we do. Although most churches genuinely work at and desire to be welcoming and inviting, sometimes we are not. In the same way, most Christians know Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations; we just do not live with this as our primary focus. We inadvertently put up barriers or fences that in essence keep non-believers and the unchurched outside of our institutions. On a personal level, we can judge or choose to keep separate from those we see as sinners and unsaved.
If we are truly living as a witness to the love of Christ, we will seek to be more inclusive and inviting and will work to be less judgmental and isolated. Jesus’ radar was always on. He was so sensitive to the needs He sensed in people. Jesus did not allow social or cultural or any other norms to tell Him how to deal with someone. He simply recognized what they needed and what He could offer and acted accordingly. Jesus seemed to be friend to all as relationship was the basis of His ministry. The forming of a relationship so often allowed Him to share Himself to meet their need.
Just as Jesus sought first and foremost to be welcoming and to quickly enter into relationships, so must we as His disciples and as His church. People need Jesus, not our religion or our churches. He is who or what we offer. It is through faith and in the church that people come to know Jesus. We all need to know His love and the saving grace offered by His blood. To begin to know Jesus, one must experience Jesus in the love and witness of His followers. This is what we have to offer.
As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we are privileged to live in His love as we enjoy a personal relationship with the savior of the world. This relationship is something we are called to share with others. Our opportunity may come within the walls of the church; it may come out there in the world. May we be as open, loving, and welcoming as Jesus was as we seek to live as His witness in and through our lives.