Come. It’s a simple word, but one that I believe we sometimes struggle with, especially in the American church. We want to say it. We want to be welcoming, but the reality is that the message we often send is “Come, but…”
Come, but only if you have yourself together.
Come, but not if you participate in this sin, this sin or this sin.
Come, but not too close.
Even as a church worker, I feel this at times…this need to only come close to God or to the church if I have my life perfect and figured out. I love the way God’s grace breaks through all of this in this James Montgomery hymn from the 1800s:
Come to Calv’ry’s holy mountain
Sinners, ruined by the fall
Here a pure and healing fountain
Flows for you, for me, for all
In a full, perpetual tide,
Opened when our Savior died
We don’t have to come as those who have it together. No, we come as sinners, as those ruined, struggling to figure it out. We don’t have to try to come already healed and put together (if that were even possible) but rather, we come to find healing and to be put together. We come, you… me… all of us. We come, because our Savior came.
He came, and walked here among us, sinners. He didn’t hang out with the religious elite, but rather the “sinners.” Those who most people told to “go away,” Christ invited to “come.” And that invitation is on the table for us today as well:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31a)
“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” ( John 7:37)
“The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” (Revelation 22:17)
Let us come and “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). And as we come, may we always be inviting others—the fellow sinner, fellow broken, fellow weary, fellow scared—to come along with us and experience the pure and healing fountain of the water of life.
Jesus, remind us to come with confidence to You each moment of every day and to invite others along the way. Help us extend your invitation to “come” openly and willingly to whoever we meet. We praise you that it’s only because of your sacrifice on the cross that we CAN come. In Your Name we Pray, Amen!