Monday, December 04, 2006

Advent: Welcoming

Would you invite someone you met living on the downtown streets who was struggling with mental illness to become a part of your household? If you were that person drifting from place to place on those streets, would you give up your autonomy to link yourself to the lives of others, despite the personal costs involved?

Would you travel across state lines for the sake of embedding yourself into a community of faith, even if it meant transplanting a family and then sharing your new home with friends and strangers, both invited and uninvited? Would you be willing to be "dragged along" in such a move and to rediscover yourself in a new environment?

Would you be willing to head to the other side of the globe for the sake of service and ministry, crossing cultures to live out the message of the gospel? Would you be willing to "get real" enough with people even in that service to share your own woundedness and struggle?

Advent welcomes such change in our lives.

(read on)In reflecting on this week's theme of "Welcome", I think of folks like Billy and Maria and JFK, the Samson family, and Pete and Lori. The Welcome of Advent involves us taking our Awakening to the need of salvation and bringing the implications of that to a place of acceptance. The welcome of the change to which the coming of Messiah invites us is brought through the messy and painful process of repentance, and from it springs the willingness to allow the transformation which God works in us.

The divine welcome which is extended in the Incarnation is at once both affirming of our humanity and challenging in pressing us into Christlike imaging of it. As we are welcomed, so we are changed; and as we are changed, so we welcome others. I appreciate our community's challenge of "welcoming" beyond the boundaries of culture, race, gender, sexual orientation, and social status, and I'm thankful for the ways it has been imaged both by the folks mentioned above as well as others in our fellowship.

My encouragement then, is that we continue to welcome the transformation to which the gospel calls us.... and that we share that welcome with each other.

You can read some specific suggestions for reflective-actions at last year's post.

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