June 28, 2020: The Radical Welcome of Jesus

stained glass image
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Once I saw a doormat that read:

Did You Bring Snacks?

I chuckled when reading the doormat’s message, but it got me to thinking about the welcome we extend to others in daily life, in our homes, workplaces, and churches. Is our welcome a truly open one, or do we place conditions on the welcome we extend to others?

In today’s text from Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus equates welcoming our neighbor with welcoming him: “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me” (Matthew 10:40).

The Good News is hospitality realized. In the life and ministry of Jesus, no one is excluded. Recall the words we pray in our liturgy for Lent: Into your open arms stretched out upon the cross, receive us all. God sent Jesus into the world to welcome everyone to participate in his kingdom.

British scholar N. T. Wright writes about our participation in the radical welcome of Jesus: “If Jesus’ people today could relearn this simple but profound lesson, the church might once again be able to go out with a message to challenge and change people’s hearts”  (Matthew for Everyone, p. 124).

Just think what might happen in our very polarized, divided world if we, the followers of Jesus, practiced a radical hospitality that welcomed all people to accept the embracing, all-encompassing love of God?

Whom might God be calling you to welcome?

Lane Sapp, pastor, Calvary Moravian Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina