MU Devotion – Sunday 28th June Third Sunday after Trinity
The reading from Matthew’s Gospel today begin with the words:
Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Matthew 10.40
The disciples were being sent out to proclaim the good news of Jesus and the coming of the kingdom of God. On their missionary journey they were expected to rely on the hospitality of others, eating and sleeping with whoever welcomed them into their homes.
As Mothers’ Union members we are renowned for our hospitality. So well renowned, that it is sometimes hard to get people in the church to see beyond just expecting us to provide the refreshments after church functions. The full picture is that offering hospitality gives us a way to welcome Jesus into the midst of the gathering as we share our time, talents, and resources with all. It is about more than just food and drink. Hospitality is a way of showing people how important they are to us and how interested we are in them as individuals. Our smiles when we serve the teas and coffees, our conversations with those we are serving and sharing a meal with, our invitations to come and join in at our events, all show how much we care.
When our welcome is open and inclusive, we show people the love that Jesus has for all of us. The problem at the moment is that our hospitality is rather restricted. Even with the easing of lockdown which allows us to meet in our gardens or other outdoor places, we still cannot offer one another our normal levels of hospitality. Maybe some of you are taking your own refreshments if you go visiting. Or trying to work out how to turn down the offer of a cuppa without causing offence.
Instead, we must focus on different aspects of welcome and hospitality. A smile to those we pass in the street. Being polite and courteous when we have to queue and follow the frustrating one-way systems in shops and now in our church buildings. Continuing to keep in contact with others who, possibly like ourselves, are struggling with loneliness or fear. Finding ways to bring joy into the life of those we would usually share food and drink with.
The other week, there was a lockdown first birthday party in our street. A procession of cars festooned with pink and white balloons drove past the little girl’s house beeping their horns and shouting ‘Happy Birthday’. A different type of celebration which will last for a long time in the memories of those who took part. A novel way of sharing love by showing that individuals have not been forgotten.
Jesus tells us, that in each of the acts of sharing such welcome he is there among us and so is the one who sent him. Our hospitality, in whatever form it now takes, is part of our mission to bring Jesus into the hearts of our communities and the families we strive to serve.
With all my love and prayers