Trinity 3

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Readings

Jeremiah 28.5-9
Romans 6.12-23
Matthew 10.40-42

Sermon

Everywhere you look you will see signs saying ‘Welcome’. Welcome to Wales, to England, to wherever. Welcome to this shop or that shop. Welcome to this home. Welcome to church. Being made to feel welcome is such an important part of life and culture that if it’s not there everyone notices. Tripadvisor and similar hospitality and tourism platforms rate places and events on many things, including how welcome people were made to feel. The quality of welcome is much more than just a tick box exercise; a welcome says everything about what an event or place or organisation values.

With all of that going on in our culture it is no wonder then that it has been so difficult to be living in a time when, until very recently, most places were closed and events were either cancelled or postponed. And this included every single church in this diocese. If going to a church, for a moment of quiet, or prayer, or a service, or a social event has been part of your journey it must have been a strange experience to be locked out. Many people have shared with me that even with the excellent things happening on social media, and church going very much online, it’s just not the same. There is something about being in the place where you want to be welcomed. Hopefully now, with restrictions easing, you’ve been able to get into your physical church of choice and can feel the warm welcome.

Jesus knew a lot about the importance of a good welcome. Not just because it makes people feel warm but because a good welcome says that you are truly valued, that there is a willingnesson the part of the welcomer to get to know you and find out what makes you tick. Being made to feel welcome is just the beginning of a journey, during which a relationship may grow and develop into something beyond our imagining.

So it’s no wonder then that Jesus tells his disciples that if they are welcomed when they go out and about spreading the good news of God and God’s Kingdom, then he will be welcomed too. Jesus is very much a part of them, he is the essential reason why they are engaging with new people in new places, and he is there with them, deep within their hearts and minds. Jesus has been welcomed into the lives of his disciples so warmly that he has made a lasting impact on who they are, their thoughts and their actions. Each, in their own way, becomes a reflection of Jesus and what is important to him.

And the power of a welcome spreads as Jesus tells his disciples that others may be inspired to do kind deeds simply by being in the presence of them. A simple act of hospitality, the giving of water to someone in need, is the perfect reflection of the love thatGod has shared with Jesus, which he shared with the disciples, which they now share with others. This is the action demanded of by the Kingdom. No wonder then that they are reassured that such people will not loose their reward, which is to simply share in this amazing gift of love that has been poured out from God.

God’s love knows no limits and no boundaries. It’s meant to be shared always in the welcome we offer to strangers and friends alike, and to be experienced always in the welcome we receive in so many different places and contexts. Being Kingdom People reminds us that this love should be at the very heart of everything you do, not just in how you welcome others, but how you then can take it to the next step and continue to share in actions full of the same love and compassion. The time in lockdown has shown that there have been so many acts of love throughout this diocese and beyond. All different ways of saying that God’s love has been made welcome, that it has been known and felt, and that it can and will continue to make a difference to the lives of everyone if we give it a chance.

Questions for Reflection

  • Have you had an experience of being welcomed that made a huge difference to your life?
  • In what ways can you share God’s love in the coming week?


Page last updated: 23rd June 2020 7:52 AM
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