This past weekend, at a little Methodist church in Provincetown, I had the rare privilege of sitting next to a young man who was a brand new churchgoer. This was his second time in church. Ever.
As we started moving through the worship service it became clear that he was in foreign territory.
The poor kid barely got a chance to sing because he couldn’t figure out which of the two hymnals he was supposed to pick up. He was uncomfortable during the Lord’s Prayer because he didn’t know if he was expected to pray with his hands folded under his chin. Communion was awkward because he didn’t quite know what to do with his bread as he waited for everyone else to get theirs.
In Deuteronomy, God instructs Israel to “love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” May we take ownership of that lesson in our own time – welcoming, guiding, and creating pathways into the life of our community for churchgoers both new and old!