More than a month ago my husband asked me to make a table runner for the new table by our front door. When I asked what color he had in mind he replied “Rainbow. Because it would make a lot of people mad.”
I just happened to have a Row-by-Row Experience kit (i.e., a pattern and fabric) that was easily adapted into a rainbow table runner. Directions for “Name that Tune,” the original pattern by Laura and Liz at Crazy Redhead Quilting, suggests you appliqué music notes for the melody of your favorite song.
After considering a number of different songs, we settled on “All Are Welcome” by Marty Haugen. The refrain fit within the staff – not going too high nor too low – and all the notes fit on the length of the runner. Here’s the first verse with refrain:
Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live, a place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive. Built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault of grace; here the love of Christ shall end divisions. All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.
To hear the hymn as sung by Haugen with others, search for the “All Are Welcome” concertato on the GIA Publications website (or click here) and click on the PREVIEW button.
One of my favorite Bible stories of welcome has to do with Jesus and the children. As the story is set up in the gospel of Mark, the disciples have been arguing with one another about who is the greatest. When Jesus calls them on it, they go silent.
“[Jesus] sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” – Mark 9:35-37 NRSV (see also Matthew 18:1-5 and Luke 9:46-48)
In the very next chapter of Mark, the disciples try to keep children away from Jesus. It’s a story I use every time I have the privilege of baptizing a child.
“People were bring little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.” – Mark 10:13-16 NRSV (see also Matthew 19:13-15 and Luke 18:15-17)
We think of younger children when hear these verses. But I believe it applies equally well to school age kids, teenagers, and adults — in other words, to every person who has ever been a child. We are all children of God.
May you be warmly welcomed wherever you find yourself today.