Daily Riches: The Kissing Church (Brian McLaren)

“As one arrives at a [church] gathering–in the parking lot, on the sidewalk–others are arriving too, and how one treats them is, at is turns out, a highly significant communal practice. If one habitually treats them as strangers–say, as one might treat strangers pushing carts down the aisle in a grocery store, or strangers sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, or strangers boarding a Boeing 747–then one is practicing a way of treating people that may or may not be in line with the way of this community. Interestingly, it was precisely this so-called detail–of how we welcome one another when we gather–that was of great concern to the first apostles (1 Corinthians 11; James 2). For example, Paul’s call to ‘greet one another with a holy kiss’ (repeated four times in his epistles) was more significant than it appears. Class-conscious Roman society required that people only exchange the kiss with peers, but the early church brought together Jew and Gentile, men and women, slave and free, rich and poor. That people transgressed (or transcended) normal social convention was essential to the early church in maintaining its higher allegiance to the way of Jesus instead of the way of Rome.” Brian McLaren

“Henri [Nouwen] wrote a lot about creating an ’empty space’ in your heart–like a guest room in your house–so there is room for others to feel welcome. The problem is, when I nearly drown in my own schedules and agenda, I leave no room for others and no time for hospitality. …I have discovered that when I allow my heart to contain too much resentment, busyness and anxiety, especially anxiety about getting to my next appointment or wishing I were doing something else, I leave no room in my heart for others. I raise a wall around me, and others probably wonder why they can’t come in. I imagine some of them go away sadly, tired of encountering a closed heart.” Christopher de Vinck

“Always be eager to practice hospitality.”
Romans 12:13

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Who do you notice at church? Who are you overlooking or ignoring?
  • Does the way you greet others, including those you don’t know, reflect the transcendent value and dignity Christ gives those individuals?
  • Is there a space for others in your life and schedule, or do they “go away sadly”, after trying to connect with you?

Abba, help me to “see” others and open my life and heart to them.

For More: Nouwen Then by Christopher de Vinck

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill

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