Being welcoming

Being welcoming

This article is taken from October’s Ministry Area Magazine, available in our churches now.

Our toddler group Little Adventurers has now been running for nearly a year!

During this time, we have welcomed in many new families with quite a few having no formal connection to the church. If you ask our volunteers you’ll find out that we have a lively time with lots of chances to play, sing, take part in crafts and then bible stories. One of our major successes is allowing parents grandparents and carers a chance to sit down speak to an adult and have a cuppa tea or coffee.

I believe that one of the main jobs of the church to show love and care to those who are outside our four walls. This is one of the main reasons why the toddler group was originally started. It’s also one of the reasons that you can find me sometimes hefting around a bag of ethically-sourced, slavery-free Manumit coffee in All Saints Cyncoed. Hospitality, welcome and service are all important parts of the Christian faith.

I think Jesus thought so too. One of my favourite bible passages is the wedding at Cana, where Jesus turns the water into wine. It shows an image of what the kingdom of God could be like — a place where the wine doesn’t run out, where there is celebration and community. Jesus takes the disaster of the wine running out, the groom’s shame having to face their guests and the fairly mundane and the ordinary gift of water, and turns it into the best wine ever!

In a world that seems so divided, where there is a rise in loneliness and mental health issues, the Christian faith has a message of belonging and welcome. We are challenged to welcome people in just as Jesus welcomes us. And we can all do a little thing like provide a cup of tea to a frazzled parent, help a neighbour in need or speak up about a way which the church can engage afresh with the community?

In Evensong a few weeks ago we had this read from Revelation 3:20:

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

This evokes the image of us sitting with Jesus as equals, not one serving the other, but sitting down as friends sharing life, love and importantly food together. Jesus knocks and asks to come into our lives.

So this month I wonder who is it that we need to welcome in? Who, like Jesus, do we need to call on and befriend? How could you come to Jesus with your small contribution, and ask him to make it into something beautiful?