You Belong Here!
A few years ago, Jade and I attended her Grandmother's funeral. I did not really know her that well, I met her on a few occasions. But I wanted to support my wife and children in the passing of their grandmother. She was a sweet lady, she was loving and caring, and was apart of the Amish religion.
At the service, about 90% of the people at the funeral, were Amish. The funeral had three preachers, all who preached in German. I did not understand a word. When folks did speak in English, they could mention a holiday, a name, a place, a memory – and there was instant recognition, laughter or tears, from everyone it seemed except me. I just didn't understand.
I was a bit on the outside.
Have you been there? We have all experienced this sense of not belonging, missing out, being on the outside looking in. The first day in a new school, the first day in a new job. None of us likes to be left-out, none of us enjoys being excluded, none of us likes feeling we don’t belong.
Have you ever felt that way at church? Like there’s a conversation going on that you are not quite getting? Like everyone else in the place knows something you don’t? Like the whole thing is for them, and you are just kind of watching?
I'm writing to those who didn’t make the team, the choir, the play, or the band. This is for those who are confused, filled with doubt, who are broke, for the messed up, the imperfect, and for the one who's been hurt.
It is for the one who has a history they’d rather forget, the one who is still paying for the consequences of poor decisions. This is for those of us who are imperfect, those who come to church feeling like a they don’t belong. I wan't to tell you one simple little statement! Ready? Here it is: YOU BELONG HERE!
In Mark 16, were told the most important thing your ears will ever hear, - Jesus is alive. Think with me for a moment, God is looking down from heaven, He needs someone to be the first person to post that Jesus is alive, who is He going to pick?
You would think that the most important message of all time would be reserved for a dignitary, a celebrity preacher, someone who preached at the largest church in the world. Maybe God could resurrect Moses, or Abraham to make such a glorious announcement.
However, God did not use any of them. In fact, He used people that others would say did not belong, that the towns people would have said "Out of all people in the world He used her?"
When Christ was born God used shepherds to spread the Word, an unlikely candidate. When Christ came into Jerusalem, Christ was carried in on a donkey, and not a royal white horse. Now when Christ was made alive again, the messenger God used was an unlikely source, a woman named Mary Magdalene.
Now, Jesus is risen out of the grave. These traveling women are heading to the tomb, they are getting the spices ready, they are getting the anointment ready. They ask who is going to go to the tomb with us.
And I can see it now, Mary Magdalene who once had been oppressed, raised her hand I would like to go. God moved on them in such a way that made sure Mary Magdalene went to the tomb because she belonged there!
I'm tired of the devil trying to lie to people and tell them that they don’t belong, that they should not go to church, that they are too busy, that they're background is too messed up.
That they are too dirty or smelly. Because if Mary Magdalene who was possessed, but delivered, belonged at the tomb, then you belong at the cross!
Never allow any person, emotion, or feeling to tell you that you don't belong at church, because you do. There is always a place for you at the cross!