“From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.” Colossians 3:11
The church I attend declares, “No matter who you are, you are welcome here.” However, because the church body is considered non-hierarchal, it is necessary for each congregation to declare their open and affirming (ONA) status in the form of a written statement. Many of the members of the congregation are against such a statement, because they don’t want to make a big deal out of the fact that we already invite all folks to attend our church and see no extra value in “labeling” people in a covenant (such as, but not limited to, those who are LGBT, mentally ill, suffer from a disability, and/or have a felony status). Others aren’t sure if they are ready to open the front door wide enough for everyone to come in.
Today’s scripture from Colossians tells me a covenant for our church archives in not necessary. Jesus died on the cross and opened the door for all God’s people. I guess I’m still amazed that over 2000 years after the resurrection of Jesus, we are debating whether or not to make a covenant to all people that they are welcome to worship together. However, if it makes those folks who find themselves on the “list” feel safer in the church, then it’s worth the time and effort to write and approve the covenant.
Dear God, thank you for opening the door to all people to be part of your kingdom–even me, a straight, white, 68-year old female wearing a garment soiled with all kinds of sin. Amen.