Today at church, we ran out of bulletins.
Now *that* is a good sign! It means we exceeded our expectations. We all scratched our heads and asked folks to share. Isn't that what life is about, anyway?
Our expectations were that it would be a "low" Sunday, that most people would be recovering from a late night on the town or are away visiting family elsewhere. Turns out that we had guests of regular attendees (in-laws, grandparents or grandkids) plus a handful of out-of-town visitors who wanted to attend church. Plus, we had some genuine, honest to goodness, newcomers. Folks looking to get involved in a church. Really, they do exist!
What do newcomers experience when the show up at the front door? A nice smile, a group of folks dressed in white robes hovering around, a friendly face putting a bulletin in their hands and showing them the gigantic sanctuary with plenty of pews to choose from.
How do they find their way through the service? Are the hymnals at-hand? Are we, as a congregation, helping them understand who we are as a community not just how we do these 55 minutes on Sundays?
I wonder how God sees us all as newcomers. Each day we show up in God's world, greeting God's face in the smiles of another, receiving well-wishes when we bump into someone at the market, finding our way in God's sanctuary-earth with plenty of pew-possibilities to choose from.
May we always be newcomers to our church service, to our relationships, to our neighbors new and old. We can know that God's steadfast love and grace will greet us with a smile, each day.
Happy New Year and welcome to God's Kingdom.