‘The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.’ Leviticus 19:4
It’s been a long while since I found myself in a country where I don’t understand the language, don’t know the customs and have no clue about the geography. Until this week. With a baby in tow.
We landed in Norway on Thursday with not a clue where we needed to go or how to speak Norwegian. But it was ok because we had a Norwegian friend who came to meet us, picked us up, opened their home, fed us local food (potato pancakes anyone?!) and made sure we were taken care of.
Stepping into an unknown culture can be disorientating, terrifying, confusing and ultimately off-putting if you have to do it alone. It makes all the difference when there’s someone there to take you under their wing and help you make their home your home. Even better when it’s someone who leads you into what they love about their home and helps you taste and see how wonderful it is.
To those who don’t regularly engage with church, church language, culture, and expectations may well be utterly overwhelming and, unfortunately, off putting. But for such a thing to stand in the way of someone tasting and seeing that God is Good would be an actual tragedy.
So, our challenge is to be a church full of people who are like our Norwegian friends. The kind of people who make engaging with Freedom Church really easy for those who have no clue where to begin. Who make safe space for people to experience enticing tastes of the Kingdom of Heaven and discover the fullness of life found within Jesus.
I wonder, who do we know who might be up for a taste of church and of kingdom? How can we open wide the doors of our church to welcome them in and feel at home? What aspects of our culture might be the most disorientating and overwhelming? How’s can we break down those barriers so they can be free to encounter God in the context of our culture?
Imagine what might happen if we did.