welcome-matA Story:

Near Stanton, TN, where some of my extended family live, there once was an old run-down, falling-apart bar.  I don’t know if it is still standing and in operation today, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is!

For many years, that old bar has stood on that corner of the highway between Brownsville and Memphis.  It has been wrecked several times.  It has burned to the ground on more than one occasion.  It has changed names and owners and colors and shape more times that I can remember.  But for all its rebuilding, repainting, and renaming, it has not once improved in appearance.  It sits in an awful location on the river bottom…and many folks may not even know it’s there and open unless they frequent that bar!  Still, there are always cars parked around it, crowded into every possible spot.

If you were to ask anyone who lived near that old run-down bar, or anyone who continues to go there, they will tell you it is always packed because customers are readily accepted without question.

It may sound a bit sacrilegious, but there is a striking similarity in the attraction of a bar and the fellowship of the Church, when the Church is at its best.  The end result is the same.  In both places, the fellowship is extended without question about one’s past.  Or questions about one’s present.

Everyone is accepted.

Everyone is included.

Everyone is welcome.