Encouragement for the Journey
Greetings Fellow Traveller,
During the past week I had a conversation with a friend, around how communities of faith welcome visitors. It was a fascinating conversation and evoked for me a few questions.
The visitor is one who belongs somewhere else, but for a little while becomes part of our circle of belonging. In earlier cultures before the modern era of newspapers, radio, television and of course the World Wide Web, where communities were very much smaller and isolated, the visitor would be the one who brought news from a different world. They would be one who told stories, of battles won or lost, exotic places visited, along with news from neighbouring towns and villages. The visitor provided they came in peace was always welcomed, for their visit enriched and energised a community’s life.
In one sense we are each temporary visitors to this world, spending a little time on this spinning orb in space. From time to time we embrace visitors into our life and in turn we become visitors in another life. When a visitor enters our world, we make space for their presence; our environment embraces them, bringing them into our belonging. Because of a visitor’s presence with us, we are changed in some way or other. Life is never the same again.
The community of faith is one which continually welcomes visitors into its belonging and embrace. The presence of these visitors offer opportunities to question modes of perception that no longer work for us, to gain new understanding of faith and life along with discovering creative solutions to the challenge of being a community of faith is this constantly evolving and changing world.
I find Jesus offers us a model of holding life gently, being open to the unexpected and welcoming visitors into our circle of love and belonging.
Who knows what the future holds as we continue to welcome visitors into our community of faith?