Jesus said a lot of thought-provoking, paradigm-shifting things in the course of his ministry, but one of them that still challenges many of us in the church today is what he said to the Pharisees when they criticized and condemned him for spending so much of his time with people they considered “sinners” and “scum.” Jesus didn’t apologize or back down from their attack, but he simply explained to them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
That’s what I love about Jesus and his church! Perfection is not a prerequisite for participation. The church was never designed to be an exclusive club for righteous saints like some fancy spa or elite gym for supermodels and health gurus only. It is more like a soup kitchen—and a potluck one at that—where we all come hungry, bringing whatever morsels of truth we have to share so that all might be nourished and nurtured in faith no matter how sickly and starved we may have been upon our arrival.
In Henri Nouwen’s book Reaching Out he says, “The Church is not an institution forcing us to follow its rules. It is a community of people inviting us to still our hunger and thirst at its tables. Doctrines are not alien formulations which we must adhere to but the documentation of the most profound human experiences which, transcending time and place, are handed over from generation to generation as a light in our darkness.” What fantastic images for the purpose of the church!
So whether you’re brand new here or have been here for generations, I’m glad you’re here at Christ’s table, finding the nourishment you need for yourself and extending the invitation to others who are also hungry for God’s truth and life-changing grace. I hope you’ll stick around and continue to shine the light for those who are still seeking and stumbling in the dark.
Thank you for being a part of this community of God’s children—each of us broken and beautiful in our own ways, each of us stumbling toward grace and reaching out to steady one another along the way. I am excited to be on this journey with you and can’t wait to see what the future will hold as we continue to follow God!
In God’s great love,