Summary: In times of divisiveness, mature Christians resist efforts to distract them from their unique relationship to God through Christ by focusing their minds on spiritual things and by devoting themselves to doing good not harm.
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY - THE FAMILY OF GOD!
“Welcome Home” are the two words that greet many folks who, in the wake of circumstances that necessitate a change in living arrangements, drive up to senior adult facilities like The Palms in search of a new place to call “home”.
Yet, deep down inside, there is the unanswered question as to whether the “welcome home” wording is just another marketing technique or, in fact, a true description of how residents feel about the place, i.e., Is it truly homelike, and, are the folks who call this place home truly welcoming?
You might say that “home is where the heart is”. On the other hand, is it really? No “house” or senior adult “community” or “old folks home” (as a few of my friends prefer to call it) should be called a “home” per se. Simply advertising a “place” as a “home” does not, of course, make it so. For example,
“Home For Sale” is one of those secular marketing advertisements that are such misnomers! The “Welcome Home” marketing slogan may also be a misnomer UNLESS . . . the spirit, attitudes, actions, and general sense of well-being on the part of those residing inside the walls is such that folks truly feel “at home”!
What is true of a secular community such as The Palms can also be true of a community of believers – whether we are assembling in a Church House or coming together in some other place on a regular basis as simply a Fellowship of kindred minds and hearts to devote ourselves to spiritual matters.
In both scenarios involving organized worship, Bible study, and ministry activities we are talking about a community within a community coming together as “one in the bond of love” to “be about our Father’s business”.
If someone asks you, “Where are you off to this Sunday morning”, you can say, “I must be about my Father’s business!” Which is so - whether here in this place or some other place. The Church is The People not The Steeple! This very point was made by me fifty years ago in a sermon to which I gave the topic: “To the saints who gather for worship at the corner of St. James Place and College Street”!
Since, as Christians, God is our Father and we are God’s children going about our Father’s business - no matter where our place of worship is – we are correct when we say, “All Christians everywhere constitute the Family of God”! So . . .Welcome to the Family - the Family of God!
Question: Is my Family of God a welcoming family by virtue of our existence or, are we in process of becoming a welcoming family? Does belonging to the family of God automatically make me feel at home . . . make me personally welcoming?
What is it about the Family of God that does in fact make me feel at home and, subsequently, transforms me into becoming a welcoming part of the family?
Let us consider: Attributes Associated with Belonging to the Family of God - which, if applied, renders one’s Christian walk and witness inviting to others.
The first attribute is DISCERNMENT - the ability God gives us via the Holy Spirit to separate who we are now from who we were before our new birth . . . see the differences Christ has made, is making, will make in our lives contrasted to what might have been . . . understand why it is important to stay on the right track.
Who better than the embattled yet victorious Apostle Paul to instruct us in the discipline of staying focused on sound doctrine and rejecting false notions . . . to the extent of rebuking those who spread untruths - Titus 3:3-11 . . .
If we truly desire to feel “at home” and to be “welcoming” to others who may be searching for a “comfortable” community to become associated with, we must be honest about who we are - “sinners saved by grace”. ”There are no perfect people here . . . There are no hardened sinners here . . . There are folks who care and share.”
There was a time when we all were in need of salvation but now, thanks be to God who loved us and had mercy on us, we are in a new relationship with God as our Father, Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit as our caregiver, and people of God as our family.
“Except for the grace of God, there goes Dwight L. Moody” said the famous evangelist to his friend when they saw a drunk stumbling along on the other side of the street. Folks, if you observe someone acting strangely or differently, perhaps in a way unbecoming to a child of God, how would you respond?