Jesus said : “…anyone who comes to me I will never drive away.” John 6.37b
So, who gets to gather? Who is welcome at the Eucharist?
There are many versions of this welcome online, but this is a version from St Mark’s Episcopal Church, Marco Island, Florida which sums it up pretty well. And anyone who doesn’t find themselves on this list, you’re welcome too.
We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, bisexual, transgender, straight, filthy rich, or dirt poor. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying newborns, skinny as a rake or could afford to lose a few pounds.
We welcome you if you can sing like Pavarotti or are like our Rector (who can’t carry a tune in a bucket). You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of prison. We don’t care if you are more Christian than the Archbishop of Canterbury, or haven’t been in church since _________’s baptism.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome keep-fit moms, football dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too!
If you blew all your money on the horses, you’re welcome here. We offer a welcome to those who think the world is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because your family is in town and wanted to go to church. We welcome you to a place where you don’t have to be afraid.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost coming over the bridge and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you, because we are all children of one Father.