At half term we were wandering around Padstow and I walked into a shop and picked up something in the window. “Please don’t touch” as quickly said in a curt tone, there were no signs and it wasn’t one of those artistically arranged windows where moving something by a centimeter would spoil the display! It was the first thing the shop assistant said and was decidedly unwelcoming!
I wonder if it is the sort of spirit and attitude received by visitors to church sometimes. I have seen facial expressions say exactly the same as the words the shop assistant said to me. Now other times shops are helpful – “Please pick it up”, “Do you want to try it?”, “Can I give you a sample to taste?”, “How can I help?”, “Just ask if you need anything…”. That’s what I have seen in church too, a welcoming, hospitable space makes all the difference.