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July 1, 2017

When I came to this place I was welcomed here. I mean really welcomed. So much so that I, and my family, soon felt very much at home. Harleston and the surrounding villages do seem to be welcoming places. That made me think about Jesus’ words in Matthew 10.40-end and especially verse 40: “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me. And anyone who welcomes me also welcomes the one who sent me.”

Wow, what a privilege. By welcoming me as Jesus follower, the people here were welcoming Jesus, and God the Father too. There welcome became a blessing. Then I thought some more about the idea of welcoming. I thought and realised that the love and generosity that allows people to welcome others, comes from the generosity of God. The God who welcomes all of us to him, no matter who we are. He welcomed me when I hated even the thought of God. He welcomes the good and the bad, the rich and the poor, the successful and the failure, the respectable and the outcast. No matter who we are Jesus has offered an invitation to us. I first accepted that invitation and first experienced God’s welcome many years ago. But I can honestly say that that welcome is as fresh now as it was decades ago.

‘Welcome’, is central to the message of Jesus, that is why I am so pleased when I see welcoming churches. I am coming to realise that if the people and the buildings are welcoming, then those who come in cannot help but feel that the kingdom of God is close to them.

Thinking of that welcome to all reminded me of a song that now won’t leave my head. The song is ‘Vagabonds’ by Stuart Townend. I’ve reproduced the words below with the online link from Stuart’s website. But don’t just read them, follow the Youtube link at the end, listen and watch too.

Let the welcome go out!


Youtube video:


Come, all you vagabonds,
Come all you ‘don’t belongs’
Winners and losers,
Come, people like me.
Come all you travellers
Tired from the journey,
Come wait a while, stay a while,
Welcomed you’ll be.

Come all you questioners
Looking for answers,
And searching for reasons
And sense in it all;
Come all you fallen,
And come all you broken,
Find strength for your body
And food for your soul.

Come to the feast,
There is room at the table.
Come let us meet in this place.
With the King of all kindness
Who welcomes us in,
With the wonder of love,
And the power of grace.
The wonder of the love,
And the power of grace.

Come those who worry
‘Bout houses and money,
And all those who don’t have
A care in the world;
From every station
And orientation,
The helpless, the hopeless,
The young and the old.

Come all believers
And dreamers and schemers,
And come all you restless
Just searching for home;
Movers and shakers
And givers and takers,
The happy, the sad
And the lost and alone.

Come self-sufficient
With wearied ambition,
And come those who feel
At the end of the road.
Fiery debaters
And religion haters,
Accusers, abusers,
The hurt and ignored.

Stuart Townend, Mark Edwards & Phil Baggaley Copyright © 2011 Thankyou Music (Adm. by excl. UK & Europe, adm. by Integrity Music, part of the David C Cook family,

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