ONE MORE TIME!
Today in church, our pastor applauded the body for being inclusive of those who look different--act different---do not fit into the mold we have created of how a Christian should be. He told two different stories of very distinct but different occasions when "Different" walked through the church doors. We passed the test! One different was a man covered in tattoos and dressed to display them instead of cover them--He was turned away from two churches--but when he entered our doors he was greeted and welcomed with not even a second glance beyond his face. The other story---and video---a family with a grown severely autistic son--who has random verbal outbursts. They sit with him at the back of the church--but as time draws near for church to dismiss--he always bursts out with "Taco Bell." When visiting our church, a lady walked up to them after church and told them how blessed she was watching their family. Inclusive and loving--the way it should look.
As he spoke, I looked around me and noticed how many people sat alone. It is Mother's Day and the church is filled with families. Sprinkled throughout the large group of people are many sitting alone. The pastor pointed out during his message it takes a WHOLE LOTTA GUTS to walk into a church alone--especially on a day such as Mother's Day. Some there are struggling with infertility---some are struggling with the loss of a child---some are struggling with contentious relationships with their own mothers---some are struggling with broken relationships with their children--It is not always a happy day for everyone.
I walked in alone and sat alone---BUT it was up to me to take the step of finding others in the same place. Instead of wondering why no one speaks to me---I should take the initiative and do the speaking. Instead of patting myself on the back for raking up the courage to go alone---I should take the next step be the one who is inclusive. I am going to work on changing that!
NOW---do you notice those who are alone--who might look different---who might act different? Some of us look exactly like you--but our stories are hugely different. Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone---perhaps even off your reserved pew? Would you welcome a stranger into the family?
"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."