You Belong

“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” - Luke 15:2b

Dear Friends,

Do you remember the sitcom Cheers?

Besides the iconic street-view of the basement bar, the launching of Ted Danson’s career, the “Norm!” cheer whenever George Wendt entered the bar or anything else, it was the theme song that is etched in my own heart:

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name

And they’re always glad you came

Deep in the heart of each and every one of us, is a desire to belong. It’s a desire to be known and welcomed with open arms.

Part of the proliferation of “clubs” in Canonsburg in the last century was to meet this deep need. At a time when our ethnicity could be the thing that kept us out of a neighborhood, an industry or even a restaurant, seeing it proudly emblazoned on a sign, meant it was also our ticket in to somewhere we belonged.

We tend to plant ourselves where we find this belonging and sense of being welcomed among friends. We come back. We welcome others.

Where neighborhood bars, ethnic clubs and sporting teams have cultivated this sense of belonging over the years, the church has sometimes failed. Maybe we’ve done ok once someone comes in, but the sense of belonging, from an outside world, has not always been there.

What that outside world might be shocked to discover is the God that we worship, is a God who has continually broken down barriers and welcomed people in. All of the same people who have believed themselves to be outsiders, have been welcomed with open arms by the One who truly knows their name!

Beginning on Sunday, we’re going to take a look at five stories where God shook the pre-conceived ideas about insiders and outsiders of his own people. We will discover the amazing fact that we belong.

I want to encourage you with 2 things:

First, if you haven’t been to worship in awhile - come out! Re-discover the fact that you don’t just belong to God, but you belong at Canonsburg UP!

Second, extend a welcome to a friend or neighbor, help them to discover (or maybe re-discover) that they too, belong to God, and that we want them to belong at Canonsburg UP too!

I’m looking forward, not just to talking about this over the coming month, but to experiencing the truth of our belonging!

Welcoming people to Grow in Jesus at Canonsburg UP,

Pastor Don

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