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April 19th, 2013


Psalm 84:1-2, 10; Revelation 21:1-3


To recognize and honor genuine hospitality and service in the church.

Sermon Outline


Television and movie story lines historically present comedic or dramatic representations of "home" situations. These "true-to-life" situations are useful examples of "lovely dwelling" places and their antithesis. The proliferation of "home improvement" shows purport that with a little fix-up, home life is beautiful and welcoming. The focus texts suggest a permanence of a "beautiful home," where the welcome mat is always out.


Describe the types of homes located in the biblical and in the congregational experience: location, size, shape, composition, neighborhood, activities, and occupants.

  • What security measures usher one into the home or bar entrance?
  • Explore both the function and the real experience of church ushers.


  • When was this text used in worship?
  • Why was the songwriter grieving?
  • Walk through each verse and look for parallels in contemporary worship and home life.
  • Attend to major concepts of comfort, nourishment, and hospitality.
  • Consider the history of the Black Church. How does it feel to be barred from worship?
  • Are there spirituals, hymns, or testimonies in slave narratives that speak to a longing to worship God?
  • After an extended absence, how does it feel to finally arrive at home? Listen to Stephanie Mills's song "Home" or other songs about home.


  • Read from The Message or other paraphrase translations. Write your own focusing on the elation of entering God's house and serving as a greeter.
  • Why serve as an usher? Benefits and "blowups" of service.
  • How does God (the supreme doorkeeper/usher) welcome the faithful?
  • See Revelation 21 for a description of the welcome to final home.
  • Use sensory information to develop a description of the home into which God welcomes the faithful.

Consideration and Resources

Consider the lyrics to "Soon and Very Soon" by Andraé Crouch or "When We Get Over There" by Hezekiah Walker. These are poignant songs about receipt of the ultimate reward.

Consult denominational publications on the duties of ushers.

Survey your congregation regarding how hospitality is understood and practiced in the home, on the job, and in the church.


excerpt from: The Abingdon African American Preaching Library Volume 1 edited by Kirk Byron Jones ©2006 Abingdon Press. Used with permission.

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