the welcome

Part of my professional work as a social worker is serving new immigrants just arrived to the United States. Although the “politics” of welcoming the stranger is increasingly difficult to navigate, especially in Texas, it is beautiful work. Maybe our leaders need to be reminded of the radical call in both the Old and the New Testaments to welcome the stranger, the migrant far from home.

 But for sure, at Central, we have not forgotten. In fact, we embrace it.
Just a few weeks ago, I heard a man sitting behind me before the Sunday service saying that when he comes to Central, “they don’t look at you like you’re crazy”. I wasn’t part of the conversation, yet I thought for days afterwards about all the ways that we practice the sacred act of welcoming to anyone that comes to the door.

Even more than this, welcome is extended to every member of our community. Regardless of appearances, beliefs, social class, or credentials, everyone that shows up is welcomed to take up the collection, to sing in the choir, to serve the sacred communion.

This act of welcoming, in all the ways that it is expressed at Central, makes everyone feel worthy and valued. Maybe that is why I keep showing up, with more and more eagerness. I feel welcomed.