Welcome With Grace

I remember it like it happened yesterday. It haunts me to this day.

As a young, wet-behind-the-ears associate pastor, I bounded into the pulpit on Christmas Sunday morning and greeted the congregation with a rousing “Happy Easter everybody!” The packed house giggled politely at my faux pas.

My pastor, seated on the platform, said (in a loud stage whisper) “It’s not Easter, it’s CHRISTMAS you idiot!” (He doubtless didn’t say that, but that’s how I remember it now.) Plowing bravely on to my death, I replied “I know it. But I haven’t seen some of these people since Easter!” More polite snickers with a generous helping of stony silence.

That day I learned a hard lesson: always greet guests, long-absent members, strangers and friends warmly. Offer a welcome that reflects the grace and love of Christ that I have been shown so graciously by Him.