Tag Archives: welcome

You’re My Favourite

It can be so easy to have favourites.  People who are easy to deal with, look nice, smell nice, have things in common with us, are no trouble to us…  But it would be a pretty poor life if we only let in those who we think we will like, are initially drawn to or look good.  We would miss a lot of richness and diversity in our life – and we know that looks go for nothing in terms of what is going on in someone’s heart.

In a reminder if you needed it that in the UK this weekend Strictly Come Dancing returns to our tv, I am reminded of Bruce Forsyth who always used to tell dancers who had had a tough evening or the judges were laying into,

You’re my favourite

In true British tradition, the underdog is backed, the one who is not doing so well is supported and cheered on.

That is the kind of attitude God is asking of us.  Not a patronising act, but genuine love and concern for those who may not be popular or may be rejected if popular criteria are employed.  We are to see no person as fundamentally any different to any other.

God’s Kingdom is for everyone.  It doesn’t depend on wealth, appearance, good manners, worship style, life style or any other criteria we might employ, it is for each and every person.  We expect to be accepted and we should be ready to accept others.  God’s love is the same for everyone – and ours should be too.  Treating people differently is not an option.

Sometimes we want to put others down because it makes me feel better about myself, I can maintain my moral and social high ground if I keep everyone else below it, if they don’t fit the criteria I create.  But I don’t need to do that.  I am God’s favourite, just as you are as ‘they‘ are.  God has plenty of room in his heart for many favourites.  He loves each and every one of us.  I am asked to stand from my place of assurance of his love and pass that assurance on to others, not feel the need to separate others out.

Each person, in front of us, that we hear about in the media, that other people talk about (in glowing or disparaging terms) – they are each God’s favourite.  Can I look at them that way too?  Because that is what God does.

Lord,
I thank you so much
that your love,
acceptance,
welcome
and care
are for everyone.
that each person is your favourite,
special to you,
known
and loved.

I pray
to have
that mind
and that heart,
to look at each person
and see
not outward experiences,
but a person
precious
to you.

May I treat no one
by how they look,
what I may have heard about them,
whether they fit societies criteria,
or my ridiculous standards,
but as your child,
unique,
welcome
and loved.

Forgive me
for the times I have done otherwise
and help me to act
from your love for me,
that I too can stand as your favourite
– but you have plenty of room
for everyone.

All Are Welcome

James 2:1-17 (CEV)

Warning against Having Favorites

My friends, if you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, you won’t treat some people better than others. Suppose a rich person wearing fancy clothes and a gold ring comes to one of your meetings. And suppose a poor person dressed in worn-out clothes also comes. You must not give the best seat to the one in fancy clothes and tell the one who is poor to stand at the side or sit on the floor. That is the same as saying that some people are better than others, and you would be acting like a crooked judge.

My dear friends, pay attention. God has given a lot of faith to the poor people in this world. He has also promised them a share in his kingdom that he will give to everyone who loves him. You mistreat the poor. But isn’t it the rich who boss you around and drag you off to court? Aren’t they the ones who make fun of your Lord?

You will do all right, if you obey the most important law[a] in the Scriptures. It is the law that commands us to love others as much as we love ourselves. But if you treat some people better than others, you have done wrong, and the Scriptures teach that you have sinned.

10 If you obey every law except one, you are still guilty of breaking them all. 11 The same God who told us to be faithful in marriage also told us not to murder. So even if you are faithful in marriage, but murder someone, you still have broken God’s Law.

12 Speak and act like people who will be judged by the law that sets us free. 13 Do this, because on the day of judgment there will be no pity for those who have not had pity on others. But even in judgment, God is merciful![b]

Faith and Works

14 My friends, what good is it to say you have faith, when you don’t do anything to show that you really do have faith? Can that kind of faith save you? 15 If you know someone who doesn’t have any clothes or food, 16 you shouldn’t just say, “I hope all goes well for you. I hope you will be warm and have plenty to eat.” What good is it to say this, unless you do something to help? 17 Faith that doesn’t lead us to do good deeds is all alone and dead!

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Martha ii #adventbookclub

Luke 2:1-7 (CEV)

The Birth of Jesus

About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books.These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed.So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David’s hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David’s family.

Mary was engaged to Joseph and travelled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, and while they were there, she gave birth to her first-born son. She dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn. 

Martha’s story reminds me that the coming of Jesus disturbed lives. People who thought their lives were sorted, going along nicely; those who thought their lives were full already. People whose lives were just going along – and then Jesus burst into them – and nothing  was ever quite the same again.

People open their hearts and lives to God.  And he comes.  Changes priorities, opportunities presented, new life born, hope re-kindled.

And with that welcoming of God, comes a whole rush of other people to welcome too…

Lord,
your coming
changes everything.

I thought life was ok,
but then you burst into it.
And everything is somehow different,
even when it appears the same.

You have brought your life,
your hope,
your presence.

As I welcome you
may I make room,
and allow you to have an impact
on what you find there.

 


Join us reading Walking Backwards to Christmas by Stephen Cottrell from SPCK Publishing this advent.  Be part of #adventbookclub, share your thoughts here, on your own blog (and let us know we’ll link to it), on Twitter using #adventbookclub or on the Adventbookclub Facebook page

You’re Welcome

You’re invited,
do come.
It will be a great feast,
with much rejoicing,
delicious food,
great entertainment,
the best you can imagine.

Do come.

Actually,
I’m busy,
so much to do.

I’m not sure it is my thing.

I’d rather be doing something else.

It might be too much effort,
all that dressing up,
getting there,
so much fuss.

Excuses,
excuses…

So you don’t want to come?

There are plenty who will,
people that you might not look twice at,
the disreputable,
the difficult,
the unsavoury
– in your eyes anyway;
to me
they are loved
and valued
and welcome

Matthew 22:1-14 (CEV)

The Great Banquet

22 Once again Jesus used stories to teach the people:

The kingdom of heaven is like what happened when a king gave a wedding banquet for his son. The king sent some servants to tell the invited guests to come to the banquet, but the guests refused. He sent other servants to say to the guests, “The banquet is ready! My cattle and prize calves have all been prepared. Everything is ready. Come to the banquet!”

But the guests did not pay any attention. Some of them left for their farms, and some went to their places of business. Others grabbed the servants, then beat them up and killed them.

This made the king so furious that he sent an army to kill those murderers and burn down their city. Then he said to the servants, “It is time for the wedding banquet, and the invited guests don’t deserve to come. Go out to the street corners and tell everyone you meet to come to the banquet.” 10 They went out on the streets and brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike. And the banquet room was filled with guests.

11 When the king went in to meet the guests, he found that one of them wasn’t wearing the right kind of clothes for the wedding. 12 The king asked, “Friend, why didn’t you wear proper clothes for the wedding?” But the guest had no excuse. 13 So the king gave orders for that person to be tied hand and foot and to be thrown outside into the dark. That’s where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain.14 Many are invited, but only a few are chosen.