Jesus reached for a little child, placed him among the Twelve, and embraced him. Then He said, “Whoever welcomes one of these children in My name welcomes Me; …”
Have you ever written something but looking back at it, it seemed awkward to you? After reading and giving some thought to the above assigned gospel text for this Sunday, I decided on this sermon title, “Welcoming Others and Welcoming Jesus.” Immediately I sensed a feeling that there was something odd or a bit peculiar about that title, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. So, I left it as it was.
Then, very early Thursday morning, before daybreak, I woke up out a deep sleep with that sermon title on my mind. I had a clear sense of why I felt uneasy about the title. Somewhere deep inside me was a false sense of piety that I should have put Jesus first and the title should have been “Welcoming Jesus and Welcoming Others.” As I lay there mulling it all over, I felt a peace with the original sermon title based on this scripture from which I’d be preaching.
I thought how children learn a lot from their parents: they’re natural imitators. That means they often even pick of bad habits from their parents. Yet, for most of us, it’s still easy to see past little children’s mistakes, and still be very welcoming of them. So, in the text, Jesus uses children to teach us an important lesson. We are not welcoming of Jesus until we are welcoming of all of God’s children, even with their mistakes. Does that mean that we put up with anything? No, we are not to allow people to take advantage of us or destroy the unity of the local community of faith; but it does mean we don’t create barriers to be unwelcoming to any child of God.
Join us for worship this Sunday at Covenant for more on “Welcoming Others and Welcoming Jesus” based on Mark 9:33-37