Advent Welcome

What a great time to read this story again!

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

For many are invited, but few are chosen.

—Matthew 22:1-14

Are you widening the welcome this advent?
The guest list is not for us to choose.
It is not for us to decide.
As a new church start, how to we decide whom to invite?
When do we say you are not welcome here? There are so many people looking for light…
Once I knew a man who wore women’s clothing to church.
He was going through the therapy to become a woman and it was going to happen on my watch. He had three young children that he was raising alone. And soon he would be a she.
I was honored to be a friend to him.
But the church as a whole couldn’t tolerate what was happening.
No matter how hard we believed all would be well, wellness was not to be had!

She had her operation but ended up leaving our church.
She said she just did not feel the welcome I had wished for.
She cried with me when she told me she had to leave
and I cry every time I remember her disappointment.
Why do we think can control the light? Why are we such hypocrites?
I wonder what would happen if we would just let go…
For me, I am going to widen the welcome and let God fly this year
I am going to let go of all of my fears.
It’s about time….

***

Michele Mellott, M.Div., is a graduate of Claremont School of Theology, a Member in Discernment with the United Church of Christ, and is starting a new church start called All Creatures UCC in Arizona.

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