Select Page
From the very beginning, the church has been a place for all kinds of people. The church was born on a Sunday in Jerusalem when thousands of Jews from around the world gathered for one of the major yearly festivals (called Pentacost or the Feast of Weeks). That was the occasion God chose to send his Holy Spirit to fill Jesus’ first followers and enable them to speak to people from every part of the known world – “Parthians and Medes and Elamites and resident of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the part os Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians” – in their own languages! God was making it clear that this new thing we now call “the church” was intended to include all kinds of people.

And that was only the beginning. A few years later, Philip – another of Jesus’ earliest followers – went to an area called Samaria to tell people about Jesus. The people of that area were despised by people of Jewish descent so much, in fact, that a sort of apartheid existed between Jews and Samaritans. Yet, when Philip reported to the rest of the church’s leadership in Jerusalem that the Samaritans had reacted warmly to his preaching, “they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed with them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. …Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” In other words, God followed up the Jewish Pentecost with a Samaritan Pentecost because his intention for the church was that it should be a place of acceptance.

It was God’s intention from the very beginning for “church” to be a place – a group, a gathering – for all kinds of people. And, though churches have often strayed from that ideal through the centuries, it remains God’s intention today. So, come as you are. Be welcomed by God.