Matthew 11:28 says, “Come unto me, All you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” This is a common verse I’ve heard all my life. I grew up in the church, went to a Christian school, attended church service twice on Sunday and on Wednesday evening, I memorized and studied every Bible verse required of me. At the same time I saw many people shunned by the church because of their sexual orientation, economic status, marital status, and even societal status. At one point I questioned everything I learned and wondered if any of Jesus’ words were real. But, I remembered the Church was made up of imperfect people who fail at times to remember their purpose as Christ followers.
Most recently I stood at the foot of the statue Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and was reminded of the purpose and meaning of Matthew 11:28… “Come unto me…” With arms stretched out and open, there aren’t any limitations as to who He welcomes or loves. Whether one is black, white, Jew, Christian, gay, straight, democrat, republican… believer or not… His arms are open to ALL. His perfect peace, rest, mercy, grace, and love are freely given to ALL… no restrictions or strings attached.
We the church, we as Christ followers are an extension of Jesus’ arms… let us always welcome everyone with not only wide open arms but with love-filled arms, just like Jesus.