The Family Table, The Place We All Belong: I See You
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 19:1-10
Key Idea: Our Creator God knows and sees us.
Jesus saw and welcomed Zacchaeus. He sees us and says, “You are mine.” However, welcoming is often not welcomed. It messes with everybody. Welcoming is hard but it also transforms those that are welcomed.
Dimension of Belonging: Known, Accepted.
Known—When people are known personally and by their name, not just by their label. They are known by their gifts and strengths, personality, and passion they bring to this community, not simply by all the things they can’t do or struggle to do, which is so often how people with a disability are known in church communities: not by what they bring and those gifts, but by what they lack or struggle with.
Accepted—Without condition. I don’t have to earn my entry and I don’t have to wonder whether that entry will be re-offered the following week.
What do these Scripture passages say?
The acceptance that Jesus gives causes grumblings by others. Acceptance by Jesus causes Zacchaeus to give half of his goods to the poor.
Zacchaeus, in contrast to Matthew, stays where he is (he doesn’t follow Jesus to Jerusalem) and gives grace in response to being known and accepted by Jesus.
So what? Why is this important?
Believing is nurtured within the context of belonging (Erik Carter).
Pity is not the same as acceptance.
Now What? What must I/we do now?
Our job is to love without condition, no matter the capacities of the new friend. God’s Word and Spirit will do the rest. His grace and Word are sufficient.
What costs do we incur when we accept our friends with disabilities? Worship? Interruptions may be God-ordained moments to ponder and/or help us accept differences. How far are we as a church willing to go to accept invisible disabilities? Is our love conditional?
Psalm 139 -Read or recited by people with varied abilities.
“He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker, a congregational song.
- One from your congregation in which a person expresses how well they are known and accepted within the congregation. Think about stories from people with visible and hidden disabilities and mental health challenges.
- This video (4:25) from All Belong tells the story of Nolan becoming known at his church:
We tried this at First Presbyterian Church Aurora…
We created this video of portions of Psalm 139.
We also sang “He Knows My Name” and during the instrumental interlude, we showed pictures of our Friendship Bible Club.