Last night a young woman from our church came over to talk and hang out a bit. There were some things in my sermon on Sunday that had connected with her and her experience as a single woman, and it was great to hear her share her perspective on being single in our church. I love that when people approach you after a sermon or a lecture and ask to talk: it is great encouragement to take the dialogue from the pulpit to the living room.
At one point, I asked her to share in general about her experience of our church, and one of the strengths she named was this: “It’s never really comfortable…for anyone. There is enough of everyone represented in what we do and how we do it that you can never quite sit back and be comfortable with things being the way you would have them.”
I thought that was a great description, and I believe it means we are on the right track. Earlier in the conversation she had described how our church does a really good job of making people feel welcome. In so many discussions of how to be “sensitive” to those visiting the church, the thing I hear the most is about how to make visitors “comfortable.” I was struck by the fact that, for my friend, welcome and comfort were not equated. As I look at the gospels, I am pretty sure that Jesus would agree.