Far Astray

March 12, 2014

John Edgerton

"What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?" - Matthew 18:10-14

I love coffee hour, all my people are there.  I know who they are, they know who I am. There's coffee, sometimes there are tiny sandwiches.  It's great! But then there are those moments that gum up the works.

Newcomer moments.

Like when I'm topping off my coffee and I catch a glimpse of someone standing alone by the door—gingerly balancing a coffee cup in one hand and a plate with two sugar cookies and three loose grapes in the other looking as if they have strayed far from their comfort zone.

I always wonder what brought them to church.  Was it the Facebook posts or the community garden? That clever sermon title from a couple weeks back or the rainbow flag on the sign? Or maybe their mother is sick. Or their career is falling apart. Or they can no longer think of a single good reason to be alive.  What's certain is they came to church seeking to know God and to be known by the people of God.  And when I see them standing by themselves, I think: should I leave my friends and greet them?

What do you think?

Prayer

O God, I was new at church once. Help me extend that welcome to everyone who comes to worship You.

About the Author
John Edgerton is Associate Pastor at Old South Church in Boston, Boston, Massachusetts.
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