“We love because he first loved us.” -1 John 4:19
We are to love God, our brethren and our fellow man is understood here because God first loved us by sending His Son Jesus to die for us. He provided the example and we, out of gratitude and following the Way, want to show love to our fellow man.
People watch what we do rather than just taking for granted that we will do what we say. Our church should be a welcoming place for everyone who walks through our doors no matter how society may categorize that person. We welcome everyone to participate in communion, the exchanging of the peace, the Celebration of Life, just to name a few activities. Many parishioners share in supplying and serving food for the coffee hour after the Sunday service to offer a time for new attendees plus other parishioners to join in a time of fellowship and support for one another. We are sharing our love for Jesus with others and hope they will join our community.
I had been looking for a church home for quite a while when Ashley suggested that I come to St. Paul’s with her. I really felt a sense that God was very present in this place, a lot of times moved to tears. I had been to many churches where I had entered, worshipped and left and no one knew that I had been there. I did not feel welcome. It was like a club, and I did not meet the requirements, or so I felt.
But this love needs to go beyond the borders of our church to reach out to our community. We participate in organizations like Family Promise that reaches out to the homeless, Friendship House that provides food and lodging for some of the homeless and Habitat for Humanity that helps people build their first homes. Our church building is used by the community for theatre practices, memorial services, weddings, and a place for many to meet with a common cause.
Lord, please help me to live so others will see Jesus’ love reaching out to them. Amen.