A Pub Jesus Would Like
“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.”
John 7:37 (NIV)
I know a pub that Jesus would probably like. I can’t say where it is, except that it is on the banks of the Thames, out in the countryside. But what makes it rather unusual is a notice outside. It says: “Muddy boots, dirty dogs and children welcome. Walkers are welcome to just use our loos!”
In other words, everyone is welcome, no matter how they are dressed, or the state of the children or pets they bring with them, or if they just need to use the facilities. As I read the notice, I wondered if there was a lesson there for our churches today. We may have a notice outside that says: “All are welcome”, but do we really mean it? Are we sometimes a bit selective in who we welcome, or are we genuinely glad to welcome anyone, regardless of their social status, their age, lifestyle, or ethnicity?
This pub does mean what it says. Mind you, it doesn’t just serve alcohol. It also serves soft drinks, tea, coffee, hot food, and ice cream. So it not only welcomes a wide variety of customers, it also provides for a variety of tastes. Can we do the same in our churches? In our worship, our prayers, our teaching? Are we deliberately inclusive, or unwittingly exclusive?
Not that many people go to church these days. Perhaps they’d rather go to a local pub to find refreshment, renewal, a warm welcome and friendly faces. Those who do visit a church may do so because they face a crisis of some sort and need help – preferably in a non-judgemental, supportive environment. For the lonely and the let-down, a friendly chat over a cup of tea could make a big difference. But perhaps, deep down inside, what they really “thirst” for is a reason for living, for hope, inspiration, purpose, fulfilment. And it would be nice to find some real friends – sincere, genuine, caring people.
Jesus said: “If anyone (yes, anyone!) is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”. That is what church is for: to bring people to Jesus, who will satisfy their inner thirst.
In case you still wonder where my pub is, I can’t tell you. But, if you could settle for a church instead, you could always try our website!
Great Father, how amazing that you actually want every one of us to get to know you personally. Help us to discover Jesus, whom you sent to bring all mankind to you.
Study by Gordon Brown
Worldwide Church of God London
Indian YMCA Student Hostel
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
Local Congregational Contact:
Phone: 020 8202 3998