Welcoming Arms

Bryson OwenCliffNotes, Frontpage News

Today’s CliffNotes is a guest post by Jude Johnson.

As I’ve been interning at the Christ Church office over this summer, it’s been interesting to reflect on how my views of the church have changed over the past five years. Today, Christ Church is my home, a place I feel welcomed. My experience interning has reconfirmed how much I love y’all. But that hasn’t always been the case.

When I first visited Christ Church in 2013, I didn’t immediately connect with the service. I was eleven years old and had been attending a house-church for the past year. My typical Sunday morning consisted of playing in the backyard with the kids while the adults gathered inside to worship and pray. I loved it.

Then we began attending Christ Church and it was… different. It lacked all the basic church essentials (no food, no playtime) and we kept standing up and sitting down. I remember thinking, “I don’t know if I’ll ever feel at home here.”

That was five years ago. Flash forward to this summer.

Working as an intern at the church, I’m amazed at how much my view of Christ Church has changed. Y’all are an integral part of my life. Over the years, I’ve learned to greatly appreciate the beautiful liturgy that guides our worship every Sunday, and being part of the larger communion of the Anglican church. I love that we value things like beauty and sustainability. Even our slogan, “No One Stands Alone,” I’ve come to appreciate more and more with every passing year.

My dramatic shift in attitude over time has me asking why: Why has my view of Christ Church shifted so much? What was it about this church that struck the heart of that little, eleven year old boy? It’s hard to put into words, but I think the art piece above (The Prodigal Son, by Chris Koelle) captures it well. Much like the son in the image, you, Christ Church, welcomed me into the fold of Christ’s love. Your overwhelming hospitality and love for the newcomer welcomed me into the arms of my Father.

That, Christ Church, is why I love y’all. And it’s my hope that as we settle into the downtown Eastside that others from the neighborhood will sense the same welcoming arms of the Father as I did when I first came to Christ Church.

Christ be with you all,

P.S. If you haven’t heard of Chris Koelle, I encourage you to look at some of his other work. He is one of my favorite illustrators. The piece above is featured in the book Postmodern Bible Stories.