1 Cor.12:12-20. Verse 15 – Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.
Have you ever been in a worship service that just did not seem to fit into your idea of what a service should be? That is looking in from the outside. In India the people sit quietly and listen. They don’t sing as a congregation, they just listen. In Several African countries they sing and yodel and dance – boy do they dance! In Nepal the congregation sit on the floor and they participate by asking questions and sharing openly about life situations. In Haiti the church service could have just been a transplant from Canada.
Who are some people in our neighborhood who might feel out of place at our church? What would make them say, “I’m not like them, so I don’t belong”? Some people may feel left out because they can’t afford the cars, they see in the parking lot or the clothing they see on worshipers. Some may feel left out because they are single, and the church is full of young couples with children. Some may feel left out because they have made a lot of poor choices in life and everyone in the church seems to have it all together.
Having been raised in a “Reformed Church” with almost everyone being Dutch or from Dutch descent, everything was done in order and with calm and proper decorum. When I started to attend an evangelical church, it was a strange experience. Evangelicals and Reformed Church people worship the same triune God who unites us to himself through the finished work of Jesus Christ. However, traditions, language and songs vary in each group’s service. I was on the outside looking in, many times and in many places but what a joy to know that they all serve the same God, the same saviour and our heavenly Father likes the variety.
People who do not feel at home at a church “would not for that reason stop being part of the body.” God placed the parts in the body just as he wanted them to be.
Thank you for welcoming me into fellowship with you. Help us all to be sensitive and open to those who are different than we are. Help me and my church to welcome those who feel like they don’t fit in. In Jesus, Amen.