Disputes and disagreements are nothing new in the life of the church. They go back to biblical times. An early point of contention was whether Gentiles (any non-Jew) needed to become Jewish before becoming Christian. Some declared that Gentiles must submit to the rite of circumcision before they could be Christians. Peter argued forcefully that nothing should interfere with the baptism of those who had received the Holy Spirit.
Most of us have grown up in or attend congregations where other members are pretty much like us, and we’re pretty much like other members. There’s not a whole lot of diversity in many of our churches.
Can we become more welcoming of those who are different from us? Do our churches welcome newcomers regardless of skin colour, ethnic background, income level, age, marital status, or anything else? What can we do individually and as congregations to be intentionally welcoming communities of faith?
Loving and accepting God, we thank you for our sisters and brothers around the world, those a whole lot like us and those very different from us. Help us to be a welcoming people. Amen. — JRG