Welcome Home!

I sure do love traveling and going to new places and experiencing new things. Yet, no matter where I have gone, there comes a time when the longing for home begins to grow. Sometimes it takes a few weeks of being away other times it can be just a couple of days, but soon the desire to be back in my own bed and in my comfortable surroundings draws me home. After my first semester of my freshman year in college, I looked so forward to coming home. As it is said, “there is no place like home.”
 
The church was designed to be like that – a place of home and welcome where people want to be – where they can share their lives, support one another, and worship God together. The Greek word often used for this concept is “koinonia” and it means fellowship. It carries with it the connotation of a partnership where each other’s burdens and joys are shared. We are most familiar with the word as it comes to us in Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
 
In the best of cases, the church is a place of welcome, home and fellowship. In fact, I believe, that it is this “koinonia” that many people are looking for when considering a church in which to participate. The fellowship of the church is an integral aspect of the body of Christ.
 
This “koinonia” is not meant just for those who are part of the fold; it is also for “the stranger.” The Bible has the concept of hospitality. This English word comes either from the Greek “xenodocheo” which literally means “to be receptive to strangers” or “philoxenia” which means “love of strangers.” The church is called to be a place of welcome to all who are seeking its fellowship. This means that the church creates an environment where new people are warmly embraced by those already at “home” in the church.
 
With the blessing of the Session, we have adopted these two ideas – “koinonia” and “philoxenia” as our themes for this coming year. More specifically we are calling it: “Welcome Home: A Year long experience in Christian Community and Hospitality.” In sermons, in Sunday school, and in our work as a church, we are going to keep these ideas in front of us as we seek to grow in the grace of Christ. So, be on the lookout for some exciting opportunities and challenges that will be coming your way in the months ahead!
May the Lord bless each of you!
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee