The Family Table, The Place We All Belong: Radical Inclusion
This page is part of a larger series titled The Family Table: The Place We All Belong, a sermon series on the 10 dimensions of belonging. To see the full list of topics, visit the Belonging Sermon Series page.
This sermon can be preached on its own or as part of the full series on belonging.
The dimensions of belonging for this sermon:
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Scripture Focus: Luke 14:12-14; Luke 14:21-23
Key Idea: The Grace of Welcome
These verses challenge our view of the kingdom and who will be at the Messianic banquet. We extend the grace of welcome to people who cannot reciprocate because that is what God does for us.
Dimension of Belonging: Invited, Welcomed
Invited—Actively pursued, sought out; people notice when you are not there and reach out into the community; we want you to be part of this community; you are indispensable; being pursued is something different than simply showing up. The “ache of your absence” is felt by the congregation.
Welcomed—When they do arrive, they encounter wonderful, maybe even extravagant hospitality, that warm deep welcome, not just in terms of what people say, but really in terms of how people feel when they are part of the family. A welcome without condition, without a caveat.
What do these Scripture passages say?
Verses 12-14: Jesus gives plain teaching on the people we are to include around our tables.
Verses 15-24: Jesus tells a parable to illustrate that teaching.
- The grace of God to us: The king desires his house to be filled in celebration. All are welcome to celebrate with the king.
- The grace of God extended to others through us: God’s people are called to welcome others with the same grace. Verse 15 is a challenge brought by a hearer to Jesus to disclose his view of those who are worthy to feast at the messianic banquet. The hearer wants to hear a discourse on keeping the law (personal righteousness). Jesus responds with a call to radical hospitality which shows the heart of God.
So what? Why is this important?
These verses challenge our view of the kingdom and who will be at the Messianic banquet: we are to extend the grace of welcome to people who cannot reciprocate.
We tend to enter relationships to get something out of them. Jesus admonishes us to enter relationships where we’re giving more than we’re getting.
Now What? What must I/we do now?
Examine our own hearts.
Are we actively welcoming those who are different from us, or who cannot reciprocate?
Do we have an “ache” about the people who are absent in our fellowship?
Survey our church: Who is not here? Why aren’t they here?
Use Erik Carter’s Reflection Tool for Congregations
Go out. Seek. Compel. Invite
What does this look like in our context?
The church is to be table setters for the great banquet.
- A story from your congregation about invitation and welcome. Think about stories from people visible and hidden disabilities and mental health challenges.
- The story of Adam Winstrom being invited and welcomed by pastor Andy (in I Choose Adam, pp. 111-113)
- Pastor George Grevenstuk talks about a group home that begins coming to his church in this video, “Worship as One” (stop at 0:50):