When in your life have you felt most LEFT OUT?
When you weren’t invited to a party that everybody else was?
When you didn’t get chosen for the sports team?
When people were making fun of you?
We have all felt that aching, gut-wrenching feeling of being excluded — disregarded — passed over — shut out.
In contrast, consider what Pastor Heather says every single Sunday:
“Whoever you are and wherever you are on life’s journey... YOU ARE WELCOME HERE.”
You may recall the (true) story of a homeless man who, one Sunday morning, walked into a church full of well-dressed suburbanites. His clothes were dirty, his shoes had holes and he obviously hadn’t been able to wash for a long time. He walked in searching for a seat and finding none, he walked to the front and sat down on the steps in front of the communion table. The congregation was stunned. No one seemed to know what to do ... until one elderly parishioner slowly stood up and made his way out of the pew where he was sitting. Leaning heavily on his cane, he painstakingly made his way down the center aisle . Everyone watched in silence, wondering what would happen...
What do you imagine that he did when he reached the front?
He simply lowered himself onto the stairs and for the rest of the service sat quietly next to the unexpected guest. God calls you and me — all of us — to extend that kind of “extravagant welcome” — the same welcome Jesus extended to any and all “outcasts” in his day. The choir recently learned a wonderful new song DRAW THE CIRCLE WIDE, composed by Mark Miller. “ Click here to listen to a loving and spirited rendition of it.
Its text speaks of inclusive welcome of EVERYONE, bar none: Draw the circle, draw the circle wide No one stands alone, we’ll stand side by side Draw the circle wide, draw it wider still! Let this be our song: no one stands alone.... Draw the circle wide!!