Our sermon series over the next several Sundays is about steps we can take to ensure that we are engaged in the kind of spiritual growth and community building that God wants for each of us and for our church. I started this series last week by focusing on Jesus’ promise in Matthew 18:5 that when we welcome even one child in his name we welcome him. Growing spiritually and building community as followers of Jesus can only be done with the guiding presence of Jesus. Welcoming children in Jesus’ name, and in so doing welcoming him, is therefore vital to our spiritual growth and the building up of our community. Just imagine what might happen if every child and young person who walked into St. Paul’s felt like they mattered as much to us as Jesus. It could change their lives, and it would most definitely lead to greater flourishing in the life of our church.
But Jesus doesn’t just call his followers to invite and welcome children. Ultimately, Jesus calls his church to invite and welcome everyone, to invite and welcome people of every age, stage and in all the circumstances of life to come to know him, to believe in him, to become his followers and to know the fullness of life that he brings. This week we’re going to look at what I believe is the next step in our spiritual growth and in the building up of our community, being an inviting church.
Jesus had a reputation in his day for going to a lot of parties. Some of the religious leaders of his day complained that he went to too many parties and that he partied with the wrong crowd. But as we’ll see in the gospel passage for this week (Luke 14:12-24) the reason Jesus went to so many parties was that his mission was to invite people to the ultimate party, to invite anyone and everyone into the celebration feast of God’s kingdom.
Being an inviting church isn’t easy. Even when we firmly believe that those whom we invite, if they were to come, would experience something of God’s love for them it still isn’t easy because of the fear of rejection. Even if we absolutely loved everything about our church (the hospitality, the preaching, the music and worship) it still wouldn’t be easy because of the fear that those whom we invite may not like our church. However difficult it may be to invite people to come and experience something of God’s love for them, it is, nevertheless, always rewarding to do so, even when the rewards are not immediate or obvious. We’ll talk more about what those rewards are on Sunday.
For now, I invite you to join us this Sunday as we look more closely at what it means to be an inviting church.
See you Sunday!
Rev. David Turner
Join us Tuesday, Oct 24th at 7pm for St. Paul’s Next 90. We are going to look ahead to the Next 90 days in the life of our parish. There will be exciting reports from ministry leaders in our parish, time to coordinate our calendars and to-do lists, and time to worship and pray together for God’s guidance and energy in the days and weeks ahead.
Please let me know directly if you are able to attend.
I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us.
Rev. David Turner