Unity Comes Through Welcoming

How very good and pleasant it is
    when kindred live together in unity! (Psalm 133, NRSV)
How wonderful, how beautiful,
    when brothers and sisters get along! (Psalm 133, Message)

Unity comes through welcoming others, and in this welcoming doing our best not to welcome others with strings attached, but to welcome others as Christ has welcomed and received you, just as you are.

Whoever welcomes you welcomes me and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous.

And, whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward. (Matthew 10:40-42)

The key word here is welcome. Welcome! Not only do I welcome you to my church. Not only do I welcome you into my place of fellowship. Not only do I welcome you as a friend, but I welcome you just as Christ welcomes me. And, I welcome you to a place of safety, a place of refuge, a place of healing, a place that will accept and receive you for who you really are, not what we think you should be, but just as God made you, with your strengths, weaknesses, your pluses and minuses. Just as we all have those things in our lives, pluses and minuses.

We can help each other. Koininea fellowship, the beauty of a loving community is like a marriage. We share our strengths and abilities with each other, and our calling as a church member is to build up the community of faith, to assist and prepare. That’s the beauty of this thing called church, the community of faith. Living in unity is like the precious oil flowing down from our head to our chins and represents the blessing of Gods love and favor.

What do you need? Do you need a cup of cold water? If it’s a hot day, I will be glad to give you a cold drink of water. Maybe you need something else? Maybe you need prayer. Maybe you need a meal, a shelter. Not only a place to sleep at night, but a shelter from the storms of this world. Maybe you need encouragement, someone to talk with, to share your concerns with someone who cares and listens.

Our mission as a church is to care for one another, to walk with those that are hurting, to accept others for who you are, and to say welcome, come join us as we travel this long and winding road together.

There is a time to receive and a time to give. Maybe it’s your time to receive. Sometimes it’s harder to receive than it is to give. If you have trouble receiving you’re limiting someone else’s ability to share the love of God in meaningful and practical ways, so you in turn can share the love of God in meaningful and practical ways with someone else. And what you share with others may be totally different than what is shared with you, because we all have these different gifts and strengths. Building unity in community can be an awesome thing. We are called to look after not only our own interests, but the interests of others.

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4, Message)

How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters get along.

I’m here to welcome and encourage you, and you are also expected to encourage others. And you may say: How am I supposed to encourage others? I am told to stay in place, to isolate myself. Yes. Well, maybe you can share with someone on social media, face-time, google-duo, Skype, zoom. And some might say, I don’t have a computer and I do not want to go online. Okay, do you have a phone? A wonderful thing is a phone call. You might call someone and the call lasts 45 minutes, and you might say, why they had to stay on the line for so long. You know why? Because they are lonely, just like you are lonely, and they want company just like you do. I’ve received several cards and personal notes in the mail lately. If you have trouble reaching someone on the phone, try sending a card. It means a lot to people.

How good and pleasant it is when we live together in unity!

Amen

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