WHOSOEVER MAY COME
And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.’
Many people think that a church is a building. We don’t. Church is a family. Our building is where our church meets – it’s our dining room where our dining table is set each Sunday with a banquet of plenty of food for everyone. And when we say ‘plenty of food’ we mean more than enough. And when we say ‘more than enough’ we mean enough for as many visitors as might turn up. It’s the kind of dining table where everyone is invited, everyone is welcome, everyone is noticed, and everyone belongs. This picture of church is beautifully illustrated by King David’s dining table and who he invited to it.
MEPHIBOSHETH MAY COME
When David became king of Israel after the death of King Saul and his son, Jonathan, he wanted to honour his friendship with his late friend Jonathan. He enquired whether any of Jonathan’s family had survived.
¶ Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled, and as she fled in her haste, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.
Second Samuel 4:4
Mephibosheth was a paraplegic. But he was given a place at the King’s table.
A couple of months ago, a young man was invited to our church. He was not a church goer. But the day that he turned up in our weekly Sunday morning worship service something happened to him. Although English was not his first language, and despite coming from a culture that is famously opposed to Christianity, he heard and understood clearly enough that day – and despite what he had been told all his life – that there was a God in Heaven who loved him and had been directing him throughout his life to this moment. In response to this work of the Holy Spirit he declared his surrender to Christ and was subsequently baptised in our June water baptism service. From that point, each time someone asked him how he had come to Christ, his eyes would water and he would get emotional just at the thought of how Christ had saved him. But all of this could have been derailed if it hadn’t been for the warm welcome, love, and acceptance he found in our church when he first came. It’s the stories like these that make me proud to be the pastor of our church!
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
We live in apple orchard country which is why most of us understand what’s involved in harvesting them. Each mature apple tree has low hanging fruit which is the easiest to harvest. The rest of the tree involves a bit more work to harvest – especially the high hanging fruit. In some respects, the above story is an example of harvesting ‘low hanging fruit’. The idea of harvesting an apple true is a great way to illustrate how our church can become a church that wins.