1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
Healthy congregations like healthy relationships and healthy people embrace members “as they are.” It doesn’t matter if they don’t look, sound, act or even smell like them. Because every worship service is a celebration – a victory.
Healthy people spend time together and look forward to being together when they are apart. They are kind to one another.
Healthy congregations are flexible. They allow everyone to speak, sing or express themselves within their comfort zone. They feel heard. They are appreciated. They enjoy listening. And they feel respected when they remain silent.
The rich, the poor, the old, the young, the blessed, the broken, the sick, the healthy are all invited to the table regardless of how loud, quiet, shy, outgoing, friendly, intelligent, gifted, cautious or eager.
God celebrates each unique gift to the tapestry we call church.
After all it is a celebration. A party. Every Sunday, we celebrate the defeat of sin and death on the cross along with the resurrection of Christ, our neighbor and ourselves.
A festival of love. Everyone invited.
We are in a relationship. We share hurts, endure and rejoice together. We are supported. We are in relationship.
We give love, receive love and are in love.
Christ challenges us to be patient and kind when the “nones” , the un-churched and people who seem “different” are called to join our party.
Our first instinct in a new relationship is to teach the newcomers to act, look and feel like us. We are eager to teach our youth and newcomers to “fit in” church. We assume we have so much to offer.
Careful brothers and sisters, let’s not miss the opportunity to entertain angels sent to transform us. Amen