“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.” Matthew 10:40-42
Take a Moment to Ponder
This bible passage speaks to being hospitable. The disciples have been sent out to preach and teach, but not everyone will receive them. Jesus assures them that it is ok to be rejected. Each person comes from a different perspective to be hospitable, suggesting we do not all have to be hospitable in the same manner. Two groups are singled out the righteous and the prophet. Yet everyone receives their just reward even in performing small acts of kindness.
Jamaicans are known for their hospitality to strangers all over the world. When someone is coming to your house you make sure every corner is clean, and all the linen is crisp. Does this extend to church?
One of our core values as a diocese is hospitality. It is implicit in our vision statement because you cannot engage persons if you are not welcoming. Jesus in this passage calls us His disciples to a radical commitment to only live by his ways of Lovingkindness, justice, compassion and Mercy. Being hospitable should be the foundation of our way of being in the world.
Being hospitable is not always comfortable. Whether you are the guest or the host, you are opening yourself for rejection or at the very least, criticism. Many of us are sensitive, sometimes to the point that we are devastated when criticized and are not willing to try again. If we consider that both the persons welcoming and those being welcomed are apprehensive of the interaction we may find this act of welcoming and being welcomed a little easier to do. Just consider if you had a choice of places to worship where would you go? To the church where you know no one, and where no one speaks to you nor tells you hello, they just politely nod their heads, or to the church where the first time you went someone introduces themself and asked your name, maybe introduced you to another member and made you feel as if they valued you being there? We all want to be valued. We all want to belong. We all want to be a part of something larger than ourselves.
Today when there are so many places one can worship, and worse yet, we can stay at home and still experience our Anglican liturgy, we must offer more than politeness to make people want to come to church. We need to make people feel welcomed. Let us take this first step to helping people feel that our church is the right place to explore their spiritual journey.
A Moment in prayer
Almighty God, The source of all knowledge and wisdom, you sent Jesus to show us how to live our best lives as humans. Enable us to live as he has shown us. Help us to be hospitable to friends and strangers alike. Guide us in your way of hospitality – Lovingkindness, justice, compassion and Mercy, that we may be good examples of discipleship. We ask this in the name of Jesus and for his sake. Amen
Contributed by Rev Hilda Vaughan
Audible done by Miss Sandra Berry of St. Matthews Allman Town.