by the Rev. Jonathan Wesley Hall of First UMC Frackville
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” – Ephesians 2:19-22 ESV
Recently, I had the opportunity to drive some of our church members past my hometown. We were even able to drive past my parents’ home, which in turn means we were driving past my uncle and several other family members’ homes. Like anyone else’s family, my extended family isn’t perfect. They are hardworking blue collar people. Farmers, field hands, and mechanics are all part of that history. They also have a whole history all their own in relation to family problems. While my family isn’t perfect, one thing always sticks with me, and that is regardless of what you do, you are a part of that family. The family may not like something you are doing but you are a part of it and as a part of it you will always be welcomed.
The Bible reminds us in a number of places that we are a part of God’s family. There is an inherent danger in this. We could use that to say we are a part of God’s family and by extension other people are not. The scriptures however, continually point to the fact that we are to be extending the family of God. This means having an open door policy towards people.
We open the door to everyone who wants to be a part of the family of God. Another way of saying this is that we accept people for who they are, what they look like and how they act. We don’t put up boundaries based on what we want people to look like or act. We are called to not be the judge of people and their acceptance by God, but to remember that we are “no longer strangers and aliens,” we are accepted members of God’s family!
The Church is God’s home, and God invites everyone into it. No matter what they look like, no matter what they act like, no matter how they sound. If God is full of enough grace and love to accept you, yes to accept even me, how can we not tell the world? How can we not share what God has done for us!
– Pastor Jon