In the past couple weeks we have had the joy of welcoming several beloved children of God to our community. Fr Jonathan has come to us for part of his sabbatical. Bishop Glasspool visited us for the first time. And seven of us were confirmed and received into the Episcopal Church.
Perhaps these welcomes can help us practice our other welcomes, the way we treat other beloved children of God every day. With fellow clergy, I recently tried a brief prayer walk of our neighborhood, looking at all there was to see.
It struck me how deeply preoccupied people are on the street, walking swiftly past one another without contact. I do the same thing, usually.
Sometimes in our crowded city we block others out as a survival tactic. We walk past the panhandler, the woman in tears, the family argument, without a glance.
On my prayer walk, I walked differently — more slowly, more open to those going by, praying for those I passed and smiling at those who would look back at me. I still feel the effects.
Try it and see what you see — you may just find yourself welcomed too, by God in our midst.