Who is welcome? Who is welcome to receive God’s Love in Christ and, therefore, be part of the community called the Church?
That is a question with which Christians and the Church have often wrestled for nearly 2,000 years.
In the Early Church, the question revolved around race. Was God’s Love in Christ available only to Jews? Or was it also open to Gentiles (non-Jews)? It may seem like a silly question to us. That’s because it was answered around the year 50 A.D. Acts 15 reports the Church’s recognition that God had extended God’s Love in Christ to people of all nations and races.
Yet Christians and churches have continued to struggle with questions about who is welcome.
In the scripture passage we read this week (1 Corinthians 11:17-26), we learn that the church in Corinth struggled over whether everyone was welcome – whether everyone was REALLY welcome. (You can read the passage to the specifics over which they struggled.)
In his response to that issue, Paul casts a vision for what the Church looks like when it lives at its best. That vision is based on the Lord’s Supper (also known as Holy Communion or the Eucharist.) Paul reminds us that Christ offered himself not for a select, limited few, but for all.
We see the Church at its best when all of God’s children (male/female, rich/poor, black/white/Asian/Latino/Latina) gather around the Lord’s table to feed their souls and share in communion with one another. Paul reminds us that all people are fully welcome at Christ’s table.
This Sunday we will seek to live that out. As part of worship, we will share in Holy Communion with one another and Christians throughout the world as part of World Communion Sunday. In a physical way, we remember that Christ’s Church is composed of people throughout the world. When we do, we are experiencing a foretaste of the Church at its best.
Join us this Sunday as remember and declare that the church lives at its best when all people know they are welcome.