My experience of being welcomed and introduced enables me to have a sense of belonging and feel comfortable in a group that perhaps I did not know previously. I have a sense of being acknowledged and to have the freedom to contribute in some way to the conversation. I am incredibly grateful to those who facilitate such a welcome. It can happen in simple and formal ways and there are certainly cultural perspectives involved. It is a very gracious thing to welcome someone who may be feeling isolated or left out. I know what it feels like when such protocols are lacking. I am sure you do too. The simple act of sharing a cuppa in someone’s home has a way of putting everyone at ease doesn’t it?
I always feel honoured to be welcomed onto a marae. The formality of the ritual accentuates the importance of those who gather and the gathering (hui) itself.
Today Jesus says, ‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me (Matthew 10:37-42). Hospitality and welcome are important to him.
Maybe we do not always feel welcome, maybe we think we don’t fit the norm (whatever that it is) or we feel judged in some way. Maybe we need to stop and experience Christ welcoming us today and welcoming those we may find difficult to accept.
I invite you to listen to ‘All are Welcome Here’ from ’Truly Blessed’.