The Family Table, The Place We All Belong: No Longer Strangers

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The Family Table: The Place We All Belong

No Longer Strangers

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 dimension of belonging for this sermon: Befriended.

Explore the Resources

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Scripture Focus: John 15:12-16

Supplemental Scriptures: Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 18:24

Key Idea: Friendship is more than serving.

Jesus invites us into friendship with him and the Father, not just service.   This friendship is the foundation of all relationships in the body of Christ.  We are brothers and sisters and friends. People with disabilities are not projects to be served but people to befriend.

Dimension of Belonging: Befriended.

I know I belong when people name me as a friend, and when I can name them as friends.  People to do things with, to go to the mall with, to have a meal with.

John 15:12-16

What do these Scripture passages say?

As Christians, we are commanded to love one another.  Jesus demonstrated the depth of His love for us by laying down his life for us.  Friendship with Jesus involves the obligation of brotherly love. Christians grow by caring for and nurturing one another. (vs. 12)

Our friendships with one another are to reflect the self-giving love and sacrifice of Jesus. (vs. 13-14).  Friends know one another (vs. 15).  They have a close relationship.  They know what one another is doing.  Friendship is mutual, reciprocal.  Friends share a common life together because we are brothers and sisters in Christ.

So what? Why is this important?

People of all abilities are created for relationships.  People with disabilities desire friendship but often find many barriers.  Often these barriers exist in the church.  Christ’s love for us is unconditional.  He calls us friends.  We are called to extend that same kind of love and friendship to one another, even if those friendships are initially inconvenient or uncomfortable.

Now What? What must I/we do now?

Make it a priority to spend time developing a friendship with a person who experiences disability.  Often a good place to start is finding common interests.

Become a prayer partner.

Reflection Prayer

Participate in a Guided prayer using the words of Jesus, who calls us friends. (John 15:12-16).

Story options

  • One from your congregation about people befriending one another. Think about stories from people with visible and hidden disabilities and mental health challenges.
  • This video (3:28) created by Living Stones Academy may take place in a school, but if they can build friendship and figure things out for whole schooldays for Ruby, perhaps your church can be inspired to think about how to include someone with needs like hers.

We tried this at First Presbyterian Church Aurora…

We created this video (7:39) from a recorded online session with our Friendship Bible Club in which we talked about being and having friends. We showed this during the service as a way for the congregation to hear from the group, and to think on their own friendships.

Dive more deeply into this topic using the Study Guide found on the landing page!