Many years ago, in another job, I learned of a relatively small church in a beach front community that took the Cheers theme song to heart as a way of life. They wanted to be the place where everybody knows your name. They wanted to be so welcoming that people who visited felt like they instantly belonged. It is a wonderful goal, especially for a church. For Holy Cross, Sullivan’s Island, it worked.
I have been very pleased with the church that I serve. Being a family church, sometimes welcoming those ‘outside the family’ can be a struggle. But not for them. This was highlighted recently by the visitation of a young couple.
About six weeks ago, a young couple joined us for our morning worship hour. They were immediately recognized. Living in a small town has its advantages and disadvantages. This couple were recently arrested on drug charges. And here they were, in our worship service.
It is an unfortunate reality that, in many other churches, this couple would have been ‘dis-invited’. In fact, I recently heard that there are churches that ‘dis-invite’ those who are ‘differently-abled’. There is nothing Christian about that. Imagine a hospital turning away sick patients because they’re sick or because they cough too loud.
When I had an opportunity to talk to this couple alone, they reflected to me the welcoming spirit that the congregation had. I was very pleased. Not because I had spent time teaching this, I haven’t. But I was pleased because I know that the Holy Spirit is pleased.
This couple has a road ahead of them. If you can, please pray for them.

-Mark

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