A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house. (Luke 7:37)
When I was in the fifth grade, I got a phone call from my best friend. “I don’t want to be friends anymore,” I heard from the other end of the line. My ten-year-old heart shattered into pieces. In one moment, I felt the pain of not belonging, of being uninvited, of feeling unworthy. The next day I walked into school, carrying the fragile pieces of my broken heart, painfully aware of the whispers and knowing glances. My teacher, however, greeted me with a warm smile. “I’m glad you’re here,” she said with intentionality. Her simple words of welcome were enough to help me know I was seen and I belonged.
The Gospel of Luke vividly portrays the scene of a sinful woman who knew the pain of being uninvited and unwelcome. According to the Pharisee, she didn’t belong and wasn’t worthy of being invited into his home. The other guests knew her history and her shame, yet she bravely showed up, carrying what was most valuable to her, because she knew Jesus was there. He would see her and welcome her, because he loved her.
As we encounter those who feel uninvited and unwelcome today, may we be the first to extend an invitation to those who feel like they don’t belong. May we be the ones who say, “I’m glad you’re here.”
Extend an invitation to someone who feels unwelcome.
Jenn Petersen co-pastors Resurrection Life NYC, a Wesleyan congregation in Manhattan. Passionate about discipleship, worship, and justice, she also works for International Justice Mission.
© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.