August 2013: God’s Welcome
Based on the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15), we looked at how the father welcomed the son home and how we welcome people into our homes. The 4 A’s of a good welcome included Anticipating, Accepting, Adjusting and Attending. We were then challenged to think about if this is how God welcomes us, how welcoming are we in our homes, our churches and our lives. Finally, we thought about why we might grumble when other people receive a welcome from God.
Some questions to ponder:
1) How good are you at welcoming other people into your home? Which of the 4 A’s do you most struggle with?
2) How welcoming are you when you go about your life and work? Do you anticipate that you will meet people, do you accept them, adjust your own plans to accommodate them and attend to their needs? How could you be more conscious of doing these things?
3) How welcoming are the churches we attend? What could we do individually and corporately to be more welcoming?
4) Have you personally experienced the welcome of God? How could this experience help to make you a more welcoming person?
5) Do you moan and grumble about welcoming other people? Why?
6) Which group or type of person do you most struggle to welcome into your home, life or church? Why might this be and how could you be more welcoming?
Spend some time meditating upon the story of the prodigal son from the point of view of each of the characters and notice your feelings and reactions.
Picture the person(s) you find most difficult as the younger son being embraced by the father and pray for God’s welcome to be experienced by them.
Go out of your way during the normal course of your day to extend a welcome to someone you meet. Work through the 4 A’s and pray that God would help you to see opportunities to extend his welcome to others.
Attend your church from the perspective of someone who has never been. How might they feel? How would they know what to do, where to sit, where the facilities are etc. What could be done to improve their experience?