At YOUTH last night, Pastor Andy gave a message about belonging. He talked about his love of the Muppets – particularly how they are such a collection of oddballs and misfits, but they somehow belong together.
He also shared the passage from the book of Acts where Peter has a vision from God – and describes it like this: “God has just shown me that no race is better than any other… It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God… the door is open.” (Acts 10.28, 34-35)
Andy said church looks like the Muppets – oddballs and misfits who wouldn’t normally be together, but we are because we belong. We belong because of Jesus.
Then he started setting up communion by talking about the kinds of people Jesus spent time with and ate with: rich, poor, educated, uneducated, sick, healthy, insiders, outsiders, faith-filled, doubters…
And he talked about the people who sat with Jesus at the Last Supper (the first communion): a tax collector, a doubting Thomas, a soon-to-be denier, and even a betrayer.
Andy called out a few youth leaders to join him up front and asked them to hold the trays of bread and the cup. Then he gave them a phrase to say to every person who came up to receive. He said, “I believe this is what Jesus is saying to you.”
The phrases were “You belong” and “You are home.”
I am often the one leading communion in church. That means I’m setting it up, giving instructions, and telling people what it means.
Last night, it was a role reversal. Young leaders (Rachel and Reggie) looked me in the eye and said, “You belong” and “You are home” as I took the bread and the cup.
I’m pretty sure when Reggie said “You belong” he laughed nervously – aware of the irony of telling the pastor that he belongs. But I was in tears.
I was in tears because I needed to hear it. I needed to be reminded. It was medicine for my soul.
John O’Donohue said, “While our culture is all gloss… on the outside, within it is too often haunted and lost. The commercial edge of so-called progress has cut away a huge region of human tissue and webbing that held us in communion with one another. We have fallen out of belonging.”
To be reminded that I belong and I am home was powerful.
And today I am thankful for a church that understands this truth.