Welcoming the “Other” by Shellie Power

Jesus welcomes all. As we meet him throughout the gospels we see that he goes out of his way to include. Jesus’ ministry was a ministry that broke barriers… of all kinds… he embraced the ‘other’ everywhere he went.
Jesus showed compassion to social outcasts… he healed the lepers and ate with the tax collectors. He protested gender inequality–In a culture where women were considered lesser, he invited them into conversation about matters of great importance. When he sat the children on his knee he embraced the unwelcomed. He risked his reputation and included drunkards and prostitutes. He confronted the powerful and advocated for the oppressed. He didn’t avoid … he welcomed. Paul says much the same thing, only in different words: “Welcome one another, as God in Christ welcomed you.” (Romans 15:7) God is the standard by which we are to measure the warmth of our welcoming.
Welcoming the “other” was Jesus’ mission. Welcoming the “other” is our mission. Sharing Jesus, discovering gifts, and serving community is the theme of our summer. Many people we do ministry with have felt the sting of exclusion in various forms. This Spring, we want to celebrate inclusion. We want to highlight stories of welcome and connection.

God is the standard by which we are to measure the warmth of our welcoming.

 

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