Drawing Wide Circles

Yesterday was my first Sunday to preach at Indianola FUMC. I can honestly say that I had a blast! 

It was great to start meeting the members of First Church. We sang songs of praise together, we shared in the holy scriptures and, we shared together in the means of grace through the sacrament of Holy Communion.

The sermon I shared with the congregation utilized the Lukan Emmaus passage. The focus of our sharing was about how faith is a great journey. In that journey we have an opportunity to walk together, learn together minister to others together and be taught by Christ together as we journey.

Jesus was on the journey with us before we even knew he was there. Christ was the one whispering in our ear that we could take another step with the road got hard. Christ was the one reaching down to lift us up when we stumbled and fell. Christ was the one who put arms around us when we needed grace, love and support. 

That prevenient love and grace was there before we asked or even knew how to ask for it. It is offered freely to all God’s children.

So much of the conversation of Christians today is who is in and who is out? Who fits into our circle and whom do we exclude? Who is “orthodox” and whom can we tell they are wrong?

You see very little of Jesus in any of the desire to draw small circles to exclude people. Jesus says, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” “Come to me and I will give you rest.” Jesus was never one to push people away. Jesus was the one getting in trouble for eating with sinners and tax collectors.

In my minds eye as Jesus walked with the two companions on the road to Emmaus I see him pulling others into the conversation, walking with still others on the road, and step by step, mile by mile cheering the hearts of weary travelers as Christ finds places and times to break bread in fellowship with all who come to Christ’s table.

I cannot be a part of drawing a smaller circle because Christ drew the circle wider to let me in. I cannot exclude those whom God loves. If I  am ever condemned, let me be condemned for offering too much grace rather than hoarding it for myself.