Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still, yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
Romans 10:8-13 (NRSV)
But what does it say?
“The word is near you,
on your lips and in your heart.”
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because[a] if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
I grew up in the St. Paul Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. It was located in south Austin and was a small intimate church that helped shape my faith. There were people like Ann Davis, Bob and Guin Knauth, Mog Everett, Carolyn Grimes and many others who taught me in Sunday School. They shared the stories of the Old and New Testaments and what it meant to be a Christian. They were there the day I professed my faith and became a member of the church. They laid the groundwork of who I am today.
One of the important lessons I learned from them was that God loved everyone and that God wanted everyone to know Jesus Christ. It didn’t matter how long your hair might be, what kind of clothes you wore, or the color of your skin. They echoed Paul’s words, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
The Cumberland Presbyterian theme hymn, Whosoever Will, speaks to this same idea. The chorus ends, “Tis a loving Father calls the wand’rer home: Whosoever will may come.” I often wonder if we have lost sight of this. Scripture says that “the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him.” But there are many who feel that the church isn’t welcoming to all wanderers. I’m not so sure they’re wrong.
Jesus sat with lepers, ate with tax collectors, and hung out with the poor. He didn’t turn away anyone, not even a Pharisee who sought to talk to him. The church should be following that same example. Maybe its time we ask ourselves – are we? Are we living into the hymn, but more importantly, are we following Paul’s words?
God, we are a broken people who don’t always do as we are called to do. Open our eyes to those who keep getting pushed to the side: those who are different than us, smell different than us, live different than us. Give us the courage and the faith to truly welcome all in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Go with God!