I’ve been thinking a lot this morning about welcome as a spiritual practice. A deep, true welcome is more than merely being nice to others, and it goes beyond simply accepting someone into our company. Such welcome is superficial if it also has to happen on our terms, according to our timeline, and in a manner we find appropriate.
And this superficial welcome is particularly insufficient when we are the ones in a position of privilege trying to extend welcome to those who are often left on the margins. Join me…but first change to fit in. Join me…and follow my lead.
In order to fully embrace the practice of compassionate welcome, we have to recognize and address the structures of inequality of which we are a part. Radical welcome means letting in those people and ideas that might destroy the very foundation upon which we stand. For those who want to save their life will lose it, right?
Sometimes God speaks to us at inconvenient times; when it’s not on the agenda, when we’re in the middle of something else, when we’re not in the right headspace, when we are tired and just want to go to bed. And the words we are hearing aren’t welcome.
Sometimes people come to us with inconvenient truths; sins we don’t want to acknowledge, problems we don’t know how to solve, ideas that make us feel threatened, truths that shatter our worldview. And the words we are hearing aren’t welcome.
We must make space for welcome. We must commit to listening.