Table of Grace

Dear Friends,


Every now and then, some of us will get the wedding photo album out and remember that momentous day. Perhaps we’ll reminisce together or show it to a visitor. Everyone might have a favorite picture of course. The candid shot of bride and groom is mine. But my other favorite is the big group shot that hopefully captures everyone who made it that day.


Choosing who to invite to your wedding can present certain family or relationship dilemmas. Who will make the cut and who will be left out. For many people, it will come down to the price of the reception and not because someone is not welcome or loved. Our wedding was a small one and the lunch was held in a small country hotel, meaning that the guest list was (perhaps 25 or so) limited to close family and some friends.


The first Sunday of each month is Communion Sunday in our church. It is a wonderful way to remember that Jesus’ invitation is to all people, regardless of the barriers and boundaries which are erected by society or culture. He welcomed all kinds of sinners, outcasts and people who would have been regarded as unclean or unacceptable by the religious authorities and community at large.


Jesus’ welcome offered healing of relationships and restoration to community. His community was and is still a radical welcome to which God welcomes all people. I am glad and proud that UPC Flanders is a place where God’s house as a home for all people.


One of my favorite hymns (GtG#301) sums it up, especially the fourth verse:


Let us build a house where hands will reach;

beyond the wood and stone.

To heal and strengthen, serve and teach,

and live the Word they’ve known.

Here the outcast and the stranger bear the image of God’s face.

Let us bring an end to fear and danger:

All are welcome in this place.

Pastor Cliff