How Do You Show Courageous Love?
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St John Baptist Church
All are welcome. It is the warm greeting in front of many Christian churches that beckons those searching for a place to worship for the short term or a church home for the long term. These words echo Paul’s instruction in Romans 15:7 to “[w]elcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Jesus also commanded that we are to love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves. (Mark 12:30-31) and demonstrated that these commandments have no exceptions. From those with the highest authority to the marginalized, Jesus embraced everyone. It is by following the example Jesus set to be a servant leader who showed love unconditionally and the Christian practice of hospitality that I find I am best able to show love to others based on my religious beliefs. And because I am so thankful that I am saved because Jesus loved me enough to give his life for me, I am blessed to embrace the opportunities I have to show love to others.
For my family and friends, I make myself available however I am needed. The people we love should be priorities, and I have been fortunate to understand that. As a young working mother, I made the decision to limit my non-work activities in order to have maximum family time. Now that my children are adults, I have no regrets about that choice, and they are grateful that they had a present mother. My children and my husband know that I love them unconditionally.
As a neighbor to those who live near me and to those with whom I work and worship or are otherwise connected to – I try to be of service, especially in times of need. If a neighbor is sick or bereaved or otherwise experiencing some of life’s challenges, I have supported them with providing meals, running errands or just checking in. And I have been blessed to receive this same care in return. It also brings me great joy to open my home and show hospitality to my guests.
In my church, I have served in the Children’s Ministry and on various committees, but my passion is service in the Greeter or First Impression Ministry. Being one of the first people to greet members and guests is a calling for me. I enjoy meeting people, finding connections and showing love at the front door. Especially for guests who may be tentative about visiting a new church, it is a blessing for me to be one of those people to offer a genuine, warm and enthusiastic welcome. Having been a guest in churches, I know what a difference this makes – and the saying, “you only have one chance to make a good first impression” resonates with me in this role.
It is my prayer that my hospitality and service will continue to be a gift to others and a representation of the love and servant nature of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Sometimes God places strangers in our paths and speaks to us to bless them in some way, and I embrace those opportunities. We live in a world where many embrace division more than inclusion. Federal civil rights laws do not allow discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, religion or sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation or gender identity). The law prohibits discrimination, and so does Jesus. We are called to love and not to judge. Through my service and support for my family and others, including prayer, notes of encouragement and in other behind-the-scenes ways, it is my hope that the people God places in my path will experience even in a small way the kind of love that Jesus has for us all. And if so, to God be the glory.
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