We Are The Church Of The Unwanted



I was an unwanted child.

I never felt at home in my own home.

It was the family joke–yeah, she’s the self-made grandchild. The police left you on the doorstep. The first two children were planned, and then you …

With two alcoholic parents, there wasn’t much attention or tending going on. Rising and walking to the bus in the dark by second grade, alone with a lunchbox, I envied those girls whose moms had combed their hair to a shine and put it up in ribbons and clips. To me that seemed the height of love.

The family nicknames, what might sound cute from the outside, became vicious on the inside.

Roughness, taunting, even a wish that I had not returned at all when I was four and in the hospital with pneumonia. You don’t forget someone wishing you dead.

If you’re thinking–wow this is too intense!  I understand. But if you’re thinking–yeah, I know how that feels, well, here’s a good thought for the morning.

I keep thinking I can’t grasp resurrection. I can’t grasp the complete turn from decay to limitless life. How can I really relate to Jesus?  I know He’s here, and I can tell you all sorts of right things to think about him. But feeling that resurrection as a physical reality. Hmmm …

But this morning, overwhelmed with complex issues here in our home, I felt his nudge, like a friend nudges you when you’re sitting side by side.

Jesus knows how it feels. Jesus was not popular. Not really. He spent a lot of time alone. He was described as despised and rejected by men. His disciples were constantly misunderstanding him or wanting His God part but not His whole self-part. They wanted him to promote them, fix them, tend to this thing over here, please. But they didn’t really listen to what he had to say a lot of the time. On the cross, he even felt abandoned by his heavenly father, by the Creator self.

Still today, many despise and reject Jesus. Maybe they’re seeing: a gold covered statue–beautiful, but hard to relate to; or  hard rhetoric thrust on a tender and broken soul; or worse, Jesus used as an excuse to manipulate or abuse.

Jesus elbowed me this morning. He wanted me all along. And in the circle of those who love him and have been the awkward vessels of his presence in our tattered world–well, they’ll want me, whether it’s a virtual community, the believing man I know who’s homeless, or those in heaven who’ve been awkward and unwanted before me (somehow I think there are a bunch of us there!)

We are the church of the unwanted. He’s walked it before us. We are not alone.  That is a great comfort, it helps me grasp his presence, now.

This morning, I’m feeling a little more at home with him.


Where are you feeling unwanted, homeless? 
Is Jesus elbowing you in the ribs?
What’s he saying? 


Image Credit:  Raw (Superfamous) + Design (Tina Francis)