“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’
“So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.”
— Matthew 22:8-10, New International Version
My mother was burned by the church, so she warned me to be wary,
And a picture was painted with paint that was tainted,
And church became a place that was scary.
Church was a building; I was an outsider looking in,
And a perception was formed and developed deep within.
That church was a place for the worthy, and I did not belong,
And it took someone from the inside to reach me on the outside.
To teach me I had it all wrong
And it came through action followed by word.
Because a Gospel that is lived is a Gospel that is heard.
And what’s absurd is I was blinded by deception, wounded by rejection.
But because someone was His reflection, I experienced resurrection.
His love has no exceptions. That’s the Gospel truth.
He loves the exiled and broken, not just those in the pews.
And I refuse to believe that His love can be earned.
Because it wouldn’t be the Gospel if it was something we deserved.
Outsiders and insiders, all welcome to the table.
Not because we are worthy, but because He is able
And because He is able, a beautiful cycle begins
Where outsiders become insiders to welcome outsiders in.
CHRISTIANA MUIR is a recent graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., with a degree in theology and ministry. She attends the Ethos Church of Christ in Nashville, where she is training to plant churches. Her dream is to help reconcile the divide between churches and outsiders — like she used to be — by helping congregations consider ways they can serve missionally in their communities.