We welcomed new members today. Six people had decided to join our church.
They had faithfully attended the membership class a few weeks before, dutifully filled in the paper-work, learned about the holy sacraments we celebrate as United Methodists, and heard all about John Wesley, our founding father.
They were ready. Today was the day we would welcome them into membership.
My husband stood at the altar and called their names. They came forward, smiling. But before we welcomed them into our United Methodist family, my husband said these words…
Is there anyone else here today who feels like they would like to join our church this morning?
It was quiet. And still. Nobody moved. But he didn’t give up.
If God is moving in your heart, I invite you to come forward. We can deal with the red tape and paperwork later, he smiled. But if God is calling you, come and stand with us.
And from behind him, a young woman came, followed by her husband, followed by an older lady who slowly made her way up to the altar, pushing her walker. It took her a long time. But she came. They came. They stood together. And suddenly, six became nine.
And you could just feel it, this whisper of the Holy Spirit, this mysterious murmur that happens when you let God work in the moment, in the quietness, in the heart.
And I’m sure it’s the same Holy Spirit who whispered in the wind on that Galilean beach so long ago, when Jesus said ‘follow me’ to four fishermen, who just dropped their nets and went. Because what could be more important than saying yes to Jesus?
And here’s the thing… I don’t think God cares if we’re ready. I don’t think God cares if our nets are mended or our classes are completed. No form-filling, no lesson-learning, no net-mending should ever come between us and God. God just wants us to say yes to the call, to walk up to the altar.
Because when we do, we invite God to be at work in powerful ways. The moment becomes God’s moment, and our church becomes that beach, where we can drop our nets in the sand, and let the ground become holy as we follow Jesus.
If God is calling you, come and stand with us. my husband said.
It’s the best invitation we could ever receive, the only invitation that truly offers us life.