Thursday, August 21, 2008

All Saints Welcomes ALL

I have been thinking about "welcome" this week as the horde of students descends upon East Lansing. Not only for how we welcome the students back to East Lansing and MSU, but also what it means to be a community that welcomes ALL, as our mission statement says, and what it means to be individuals who welcome ALL.

It is easier than one might think, and also harder than one might think, to be welcoming to all. It can be as easy as wearing your name tag all morning every Sunday, so others can learn (or remember!) your name. It can be as easy as saying hello to someone who is obviously new and looking lost.

But it can also be difficult. The real challenge in "welcoming all" is to move from simply greeting to actually welcoming. Do we move outside of our circle of intimate friends to get to know another in a fuller way? Do we invite people by name, as individuals, into our groups -- our study groups, our ministry areas, our social circles -- and help them get rooted there?

And finally, as individual people moving through the day or week, do we "welcome ALL" with whom we come in contact? Is it possible to maintain a welcoming attitude when the lines at Meijer get impossibly long, or when the guy who sits behind you at the football games gets drunk and obnoxious? This is a challenge for me in my own spiritual growth.

What about you? How easy is it for you to be someone who "welcomes all" and to be someone who shares in making All Saints a place that "welcomes all"?


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