2010-08-12 / Church

Today’s Meditation

From The Upper Room
The World’s Most Widely Read Daily Devotional Guide

Read James 2:1-5

If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

-1 John 4:12 (NIV)

On the Sunday before Easter, a stranger appeared at Sunday school reeking of alcohol after heavy drinking at a local festival. The Sunday school class invited him to stay for the Palm Sunday service, which began with the congregation joyfully waving palms. Walking with uncertain step, the visitor caught on and waved his palm heartily.

Before the sermon, the congregation greeted one another. The visitor seemed genuinely blessed as each person took his hands, looked into his eyes, and said, “The peace of God be with you.” But then he restlessly ambled around the edge of the sanctuary. No one knew what to do.

After several minutes, a woman went to the imposing visitor, took his hand, and asked, “Would you like to come sit with me?” He responded to her gentleness and sat attentively through the service. Only weeks before, that kind woman had told the pastor of her inordinate fear of strangers. They prayed that God would help her to overcome her phobia. Fears are real, but the kind of love God gives can nudge out, expel, and conquer fear.

Ron Barham*

(Mississippi, USA)

Prayer: O God, help us to welcome strangers with your love. Amen.

Thought for the Day: When has your congregation welcomed a stranger?

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