“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” vs. 40
It’s been the custom in recent years for congregations to announce that all are welcome in their faith communities, and that no distinctions will be made. It’s a worthy mission statement and reflects a move toward inclusivity that is to be admired. But it’s also a reversal of the situation that early disciples found themselves in, one that Jesus comments on in today’s text. Jesus did not expect that his disciples would sit in their prayer circles waiting for people to come worship with them. He didn’t tell them to welcome anyone, rather, they were the ones who would be going out to others. They’d be the ones knocking on doors and asking if there were any way they could help. The picture he paints is eerily similar to the practice adopted by Mormon missionaries out on their missions. It’s an image of discipleship that is uncomfortable for many–we would much rather be on the other side of the door. Of course it’s important for us to welcome those who come our way, and the more inclusive we can be, the better. But it’s probably even more important for us to be going out with the gospel to our scattered neighborhoods, and Jesus is right, those who welcome us will be blessed, for in welcoming us our neighbors will be welcoming Jesus!
Thought for the Day: When have I been surprised by a stranger’s welcome?