An old African American spiritual, “Plenty Good Room,” speaks to the inclusivity so many people yearn to know in the body of Christ. Its lyrics proclaim that there is “plenty good room in my father’s kingdom.” Encouraging us to embrace this message, the songwriter says: “Choose your seat and sit down.” This is especially notable when you consider that people who were enslaved sang this song to express faithful hope, even though their lived experience was the exact opposite of hospitality, a reality with no room for them to bring their whole selves to a place of their own choosing.
Most of us would describe our congregations as “welcoming.” Many of our church signs and bulletins proudly proclaim, “All are welcome!” But what does this phrase actually mean? Alicia Sojourner, a racial equity consultant, encourages congregations to move “beyond welcoming and seek God’s authentic integration.” Given this, it may be time for us to examine the differences between being welcoming and being inclusive.
This message is from the Bible study “Plenty good room” by Angela T. Khabeb in the May 2020 Gather magazine. Today is Cinco de Mayo.
This Mother’s Day, remember or honor your mother or a mother-figure in your life with a gift to 2122: Growing Katie’s Fund for the next 100 years. Make that gift this month and it will be matched, up to $25,000, through a generous gift of Barbara Thistle. Learn more.
Special note: The Daily Grace app will soon be retired. To avoid interruption, those who read Daily Grace in the app are encouraged to subscribe to receive Daily Grace via email.