Move-in day is full of emotion. Hopes and anxiety. New people, new places, new routines. Young professionals arriving at new jobs, families relocating, students moving into dorms, and parents dropping them off.
At minimum, we hope college students will observe the basic rules that Jesus highlighted in Matthew 19: Don’t murder, don’t sleep with someone else’s partner, don’t steal, don’t spread rumors. Commandments that lead to life.
The difficulty level increases as the list goes on. Respond to your parents; occasionally show gratitude or affection. Treat your roommate as you would like to be treated. Love your classmates as you love yourself.
But that’s not first on our minds when we arrive someplace new; we want someone to welcome us. Invite us in. We want to find the people who will be our home. Who will laughwith us, not at us. With whom we can be comfortable just being ourselves.
We are searching. Whether or not we are moving. Sometimes we know what we are looking for. Other times we don’t know until we find it. People came to Jesus for many different reasons. Some for healing from pain. Some to ask on behalf of others. Some with questions. Others with the vague feeling that what they had, what they were doing, was not enough. Jesus welcomed them all.
I wonder about this today. When people look for churches, for what are they searching? Families for a spiritual home for their kids. Teenagers testing beliefs for themselves. Some looking for a place to love God. Others looking for a way to love neighbors. Craving connection and community.
How do we welcome as we would like to be welcomed? When we have different needs, hopes, expectations? Words matter. Actions matter. May we offer a place to belong. A place to heal. A place to learn. A place to love. A place to be part of something much larger than ourselves. A place where God is at work, Jesus is among us, and the Spirit is moving.
May we, like Jesus, welcome all who come. May we love as we would like to be loved. For who we are- right here, right now- in our beauty and our brokenness. In our present and in our potential. As we were created and as we are being created.