Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory to your people Israel. Luke 2:29-32
These are the words Simeon says upon seeing that Jesus a baby brought to the temple for blessing: You God have done what you have promised. This child will bring salvation to all people. What does it mean to speak of God’s saving presence in this day and age? Not just the people who we are comfortable with but to all people. We are to speak God’s word to those we like and those we don’t. We are to speak God’s word to those who are lost and those who are found. We are to speak God’s word to those who are last in the eyes of the world and to those who are first. We are to speak God’s word to those who are blind and to those who can see. We are to speak God’s word to those who are hungry and to those who are full. We are to speak God’s word to the poor and to the rich. We are to speak God’s word to hose in captivity and to those who are free.
What an incredible challenge to speak god’s word to all people. It means that some days the word is going to make you downright uncomfortable. Sometimes the word spoken will be asking you to move beyond where you are to believe that it is possible to have a world where all the people are welcomed, fed, and free. Sometimes the word that is spoken will bring you good news, release, recovery, and freedom. God’s word that is constantly speaking is always changing and always renewing us so that we can bring the light of revelation to all people.
As part of the United Church of Christ, we are to be a people that accepts all the people, as god accepts and loves everyone. This is the point at which the UCC slogan convicts me of not quite believing that all the people are included. The problem comes for me when I am forced to welcome those who see and experience God’s word as literal and already spoken. Those people who were continually trying to save my soul throughout high school, because I couldn’t have heard God speaking, for the word I heard god speaking, spoke of a different god. Yet being member and pastor of the United Church of Christ to accept all the people. No exceptions, no exclusions.
How will we be a church that allows all the people to be welcome in our doors? Even those people who confront us with our own prejudices are to be welcomed.
God accepts all the people.
No matter who you are,
no matter where you are on life’s journey,
you are welcome here.
All the people.