Whenever I go over to my brother’s house, I am welcomed warmly by a big bear hug from him; of course,this is only after getting through the maze of dogs wanting to be loved on. These dogs include Grizzy: a very large black Newfoundland, who loves to sit on my feet as I pet and scratch his ears. Grizzy leans into me as I pet him and seems to always stand between me and my brother. Being warmly welcomed into a home or any building creates a loving atmosphere, so you will want to return. Knowing that my brother and his dogs will be happy to greet me, makes me want to return to visit them again.
Having the opportunity to warmly welcome people to church should be our greatest desire for all our members to accomplish. We should not count on a few to warmly welcome, but each person, whether standing in the narthex, sitting in church, or leaving church after worship. All are times to welcome each other and especially those we don’t know. Each one of us are called to welcome one another; as it says in Romans 15:7, “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God’. When we welcome one another, we create a loving warm place to worship, grow and serve. We are called to love one another unconditionally, whether or not we get anything in return. Sometimes it’s very hard to love someone, but with Christ’s love we can. We need to create a place where God’s love abounds, where we grow in love of God and for each other, for all people who come into our church doors. Being called to serve one another can simply be shaking a hand and offering a warm sincere greeting. Serving another in Christ’s love may be listening to them, helping them find a place to sit and even sitting with someone who is alone. Serving one another is as easy as putting someone else’s needs before your own. Don’t think “what can you do for me”, but “how can I help”. So, as we begin a new year, may each of us consider how we are going to make our church a warm loving place to worship, grow and serve.
Warmly greeting those around is not hard to do, when we have Christ’s love in us. It should not matter if we know someone or not; everyone who comes into our church is loved by God, so let’s show God’s love by warmly greeting them. Please pray that everyone will show God’s love each week as we worship together, work together, learn together and as we serve one another.