The Welcoming Church

2 John 1-6

“ The elder to the elect lady and her church … I was overjoyed to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father.”

The second letter of John has 13 verses.  Most commentators think this short letter has a sense of urgency to express concern for people infiltrating the church who are deceivers and not believers.  The author wants the church to remain pure to the truth within us and respond to the spirit of love felt through Jesus Christ.

It is commonly thought that the lady represents the church, the children represent the congregation and the Father represents God.  Wonder with me other things that we give a feminine reference:

My short list includes cars, ships, cyclones, hurricanes, whales and countries.  Cars surprised me, but I have always heard that ships are christened with a female reference.  The reason behind that is that the early mariners were married to the sea.  We call our native country, our Mother Country, and the song, God Bless America, confirms that.  Hurricanes now are named both male and female names, but I think Cyclones still are feminine.  Did the author of Moby Dick come up with the reference, “Thar she blows?”

We can have a lot of fun discussing why these items are referenced in the feminine form.  The church, however seems to fit.   Being called a lady seems to have a hospitable tone to it.  Who would turn away anyone from the church?  Our UCC motto reminds us:  No matter who you are or where you are in your faith journey, you are welcomed here.

Remember the early church was establishing the Church.  They were creating the dogma and they were warned to make sure the church was “of the same mind.”  When we bring in new members, we expect them to be baptized.  The early church baptismal creed is simple, “I believe in God, the father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” 

Has the church changed much?