I was greatly encouraged by my son, Nigel, yesterday. We were selling sno-cones and cookies outside of our church, raising money for camp scholarships. A man who was obviously mentally ill approached our booth, asking if we were giving away food. I told him that we had enough to share and wrapped him up a plate of cookies. My son then invited him to the fellowship breakfast that our church holds every month between services. Now I don't know if the man will remember to come back in three weeks, but it was amazing to hear Nigel respond so readily to someone's need. I know that I never reacted with such confidence and grace around the mentally ill when I was his age (12).
A half-hour earlier, the worship team at our church led us in the song "All Are Welcome" during communion:
All are welcome, friend and stranger
at the banquet of the Savior
All are welcome, all are welcome here
From the woman who comes crying
leaving tears at Jesus feet
To the man who knows the right way
but cannot see (Chorus)
From the ones who feel forgotten
those who sense their place is gone
To the ones who live in hunger,
here you belong (Chorus)
Go into the streets and cities
to the farms and families
Tell about the splendid table
God's mercy (Chorus)
Nigel sang the song, but more importantly he believed and lived out the song a few minutes later. What a church it would be if we all connected our worship and actions so naturally!
Note: "All Are Welcome" words and music by Hans Peterson and Larry Olson ©1999 Dakota Road Music.
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