Stuff I learned on
“We were expecting you.”
A smiling woman with an “Usher” name tag is beaming at me and handing me a Visitor Information card and one of her church’s pens. She is warm and welcoming and all the things you want a church usher to be, and she tells me they were expecting me, which kind of delights me and kind of makes me nervous.
I’m at this Saturday night church service at a new worshiping community with an Elder from my church and my family because the Pastor is a friend and colleague who I have recruited to speak at a national conference I’m working on and who I interviewed for a magazine column I’m writing. During that interview I mentioned I would be coming to worship. Clearly, she took note.
“We were expecting you” is a rich thing to tell a guest. More than that you are welcome, “We were expecting you” says that you are anticipated. It’s gratifying and humbling, comforting and intensifying. “We were expecting you” says that we’re happy you’re here and also that we have invested something in your being here. It’s a greeting fit for a participant, not a spectator.
Suddenly “We were expecting you” is what I want everyone at my church to hear. I have a friend visiting on Sunday morning, and so I describe him to the Usher beforehand and ask her to make him feel welcome. “Tell him we were expecting him.”