As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I occasionally opened our Midtown services with a welcome that reminded us of our identity as God’s gathered people. Here’s another:
Welcome, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, sent into an enslaved world, crucified, and raised to life by God and seated as King of all creation. Jesus has sent his Spirit into the world and has given us life from the dead, opened our eyes and unstopped our ears so that we might have life, so that we might see and hear the truth, so that we might enjoy his life and his presence among us. May the peace of Christ be with us all.
Welcome to Midtown Christian Community. We are a bunch of people who were dead in trespasses and sins, who had grown skilled and developed expertise in self-destruction and folly. We constantly made the wrong choices, disappointing others, frustrating ourselves. We lived lives that advertised the brokenness and enslavement of this world.
But God has loved us in Jesus. When we were dead, God gave us life. When we were enslaved, God brought us freedom in Christ. When we were enemies of God and in conflict with one another, God made us his friends, his children, uniting us to one another and to himself.
We are gathered here because we’re a bunch of people loved by Jesus, pursued by God the Passionate Lover, called to receive his love and be agents of his love to one another.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.