"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."
At a former church, Pastor Wallace notes that there are several members who belong to a motorcycle club. This particular group devotes much of its time during the year to fund-raising rides for various Christian charities. Wallace admires their work and decides to recognize them with a special service.
He approaches Tim, one of the bikers, after Sunday service.
"I've got an idea, Tim, and want to know what you think about it," says Wallace.
"Sure, Pastor, what is it?"
"I'd like to host a Blessing of the Bikes service here at the church. Do you think your club members would be interested in attending?"
Tim's eyes are shining. "You bet, they would! That's a fantastic idea. You set the Sunday, and we'll be here. I'll even contact some other bike clubs to see if they want to join us."
"Wonderful! I'll look at my calendar, choose a date, and give you a call tomorrow."
The date is set.
The Wednesday evening before the Blessing of the Bikes service, Wallace is leaving the church when he hears the unmistakable roar of a Harley-Davidson engine storming up the drive. He watches as the biker rips into the parking lot and glides to a stop. The moment the man removes his helmet, Wallace recognizes him as Kyle, a regular participant in the AA meetings held each week in the church's activity center.
"Hey there, Kyle!" he hollers as he strides toward the biker.
"Evenin', Pastor," Kyle responds, removing his leather jacket to reveal a tapestry of tattoos on his burly arms.
Wallace shakes his hand warmly. "Kyle, we have a Blessing of the Bikes here next Sunday. How about joining us for it?"
Kyle looks like the proverbial deer in headlights. "Me? Oh, no, Pastor, I'm in no way good enough to come to your church."
"You're wrong on both counts," Wallace tells him with a twinkle in his eyes. "First of all, no one is good enough to be in church, but that's exactly why we're there. We need the love and forgiveness of a Savior. And, secondly, it's not my church."
"It's not? But, you're the pastor?"
"That doesn't make it my church, Kyle," says Wallace. "The church belongs to Jesus."
Will you invite a friend to go with you to Jesus' church this Sunday?
Will you pray with me?
Help us to always remember, Father, that the church doesn't belong to us, it belongs to You through Your precious Son, our Savior, Christ Jesus. Give us grace to invite, to accept, and to show love to all who enter through those doors on Sunday morning. May we welcome others as You welcome us. Amen.