This past weekend we redecorated my oldest son’s bedroom. He recently turned 11 and his room has had the same paint since he was about a year old. When we ventured into this change I don’t know if I was really sure all the work that would go into it. I was thinking that we would change some paint and hang a few posters, but it ended up being more work than I thought it was going to be. We are almost done. As of today we have a few more things to hang and we are waiting for the matching curtains to come in the mail. The question that has come to my mind several times is “was this worth it”? I am not talking merely about the financial expenses but also the labor and thought that went into it. The short answer is “yes”. The longer answer is a “yes because” and I would like to explain that to you a bit and how I see it relating to the church.
Yes because I want my son to feel as though his mom and dad have made an effort to make him feel at home in our home. Intentionality is the key. We have intentionally decorated and prepared a space for him to feel at home. We put thought into what his interests are and adorned the room to meet those interests. Why do we do that? Because we love our son.
How does this relate to the church? In Matthew 22 when Jesus was asked by a legal expert what the greatest commandment was, he responded with, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Out of love for our son we have made within our space a place for him to feel welcome. Likewise out of love for our neighbors we should make our spaces (our churches) welcoming to them. For Jesus said the second greatest thing we can do after loving God is to love our neighbor as ourselves. This doesn’t me decorating or adorning our churches in such a way to please ourselves, but rather to put the needs of our neighbors first. It also means that we need to consider our attitude of welcoming our neighbor. Is our church welcoming to our neighbors? Would they feel at home here? Maybe so. The key is to ask ourselves have we been intentional about creating spaces that are neighbors will find welcoming.