READ : John 6:35-40
Anyone who comes to me I will never drive away. (v. 37)
A friend once told me about a church experience that left him scratching his head. While vacationing one summer in a sleepy, shoreline village along Lake Superior, Brian and his wife, Ann, decided to attend Sunday services at a church nearby. As they entered the charming white frame building, they made their way down the center aisle and sat down near the front.
The couple looked forward to a time of worship with local residents, and everything seemed in order – until they heard someone approach them from behind. There, standing next to them in the aisle, loomed an elderly woman, glaring menacingly. As the couple exchanged awkward glances, the woman pointed and said, “You’re sitting in my seat.” Brian and Ann looked around at the mostly-empty sanctuary, then politely moved near the back for the rest of the worship hour.
For newcomers the church experience can feel awkward and uninviting. So what can we do to encourage others back into the church where they can encounter God’s love and the love of his people? While it’s far from perfect, the church was created by Jesus, and it is the only institution that exists primarily for nonmembers. Let’s commit to do what Jesus did, never driving away anyone who seeks him.
Help us, Lord, to welcome all who join us to worship you.