What if people know how I’ve sinned? Am I worthy enough to be apart of this church?
These may be some questions you ask yourself when first entering a church atmosphere. Having visited over ten churches with the intention of making them my church home, I’ve asked myself the same questions a lot. I’ve had doubts that who I use to be, how I’ve sinned, and how I continue to sin won’t be received well in church settings. If you’ve felt this way, let me tell you right now that it is okay. You have been forgiven with the blood of Jesus Christ. Church isn’t a place for people to be shunned and oppressed because of their pasts. It is a home for all who are broken; who need Jesus to be the centers of their lives. And yeah, it has its convicting moments, but it isn’t to hurt you. It is to make you stronger. God calls us all to be with Him in His kingdom.
Jesus told a parable of a man who had sent out invitations to many of his friends inviting them to his banquet. Unfortunately, each one of them made an excuse not to be there. The man, saddened that his friends would not come, told his servants to invite the poor, homeless, and anyone that they found on the streets to come join him for his feast.
The way I view this parable is not how Jesus tells in verses 12-13, “… you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.” Although He makes a good point, I think of this story as a short summary of the old testament and the grace that has come with Jesus. Israel is the man’s friends that reject his offer to come enjoy the banquet with him. God is the man himself. The poor, homeless, and anyone else who would come would be the Gentiles or us (those who are not of Israel). Jesus is saying that Israel has rejected God so many times that he sent His son Jesus so that anyone who would receive Him as king and lord of their lives would be allowed into His kingdom. I love this analogy because it is saying we are all welcome to be with Him in His kingdom no matter who you are or what you’ve done. There is peace to be found in knowing that God loves you despite any of it. He just wants us to accept His invitation to have a relationship with Him.
I pray that you instill a confidence in me and those around me to say, “I am Yours.” That
we would not fear your Church as being seen as anything other than what you created us to be. Please grant us peace in our places in Your community so that we may work for You. God take in Your children who have strayed, who do not see themselves as worthy of your love and provide people for them so that they may be surrounded by your spirit and walk in Your light alongside them. Sola Sancta Caritas. Amen.