One of the draws of Facebook for me is the pictures that get posted that catch me by surprise. Today, my cousin updated her picture, so of course, I wanted to see where she was and what she was doing. It wasn't surprising that she had uploaded another photo, she does so regularly. What surprised me this time was that I saw three different posts with pictures of three different men who played a significant role in my life. The occasion for the posts was Father's Day and each was paying tribute to these men who had died.
There was a picture of Ben, my neighbor in Auburn, Indiana. Though small in stature, Ben was larger than life to me and he always greeted me as if I was a long lost friend. As a kid, I took comfort in having such a welcoming neighbor as Ben. Another picture was of Rev. William Heimach who was my pastor growing up at the Auburn Presbyterian Church. The day we moved next door to Ben, Rev. Heimach came over to welcome us to town and invited me to his son's birthday party the next day. The third man pictured was my best friend Michael who welcomed me to his home when we moved back to Atlanta. I can still hear him say, "Hi pal" whether he was greeting me into his home or calling me on his way home from the airport. These three men, in their own unique way, taught me the power of a welcoming spirit.
Jesus was welcoming. The gospel witness of Christ is that he greeted people with open arms or curious questions and always seemed to take delight in those who sought him out. He didn't turn people away. People did that themselves if they didn't like what they heard him teach. To follow Jesus is to welcome.
Who will you welcome into your life today, this week, and this year?
Prayer for Today
Open our hearts to welcome the stranger, O Lord, and show us the power of the welcoming spirit, so that we may be true evangelists for your gospel. Amen.