Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

by Crossings

THE REWARDING RECEPTION
Matthew 10:40-42
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
(Proper 8 — Sunday between June 26 and July 2 Inclusive)


40Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Whoever 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; 42and 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.


DIAGNOSIS: Receiving what we deserve

Step 1 — Initial Diagnosis: Not practicing hospitality
As Jesus was explaining hospitality to the twelve, they may have been more than a little confused. They’d been taught that true hospitality was only offered within the household of Israel and even there it was only those who lived clean, not unclean like the Gentiles, who were worthy of being welcomed. Jesus’ “whoever” opened a door that the twelve would have had much trouble walking through. Of course, present day disciples, you and me, may also be inclined to make decisions about the worthiness or unworthiness of potential guests in our homes, our congregations, our lives.

Step 2 — Advanced Diagnosis: Not welcoming/not welcomed
If we claim that true hospitality should only be extended among “us,” we are rejecting the mercy management authority that Jesus was living and teaching the disciples. If we refuse to trust that God is doing something new through this mind-boggling “whoever,” we are rejecting the prophet, the righteous one, the little one and setting ourselves against Jesus’ instructions for those who are being sent out to proclaim that the kingdom of God is near.

Step 3 — Final Diagnosis: Losing reward
Such rejection only serves to highlight the deeper problem that God has with us in our inhospitable trust-less-ness. The lawful authority that disciples such as the twelve and us like to use when it is to our advantage (we aren’t supposed to welcome people like “them” here) is turned against us. God rejects us in our rejecting and our reward is lost.

PROGNOSIS: Receiving what we do NOT deserve

Step 4 — Initial Prognosis: Getting reward in Christ
It is our amazing Lord Jesus Christ who was rejected by everyone, but still willingly went to the cross for you and for me…for “whoever.” He allowed himself to be rejected and crucified because he would not let any of his rejected sisters and brothers be left outside the mercy of the Father. Jesus stands as the fulcrum of history, where the scales of God’s activity in the world are permanently tipped from the law to the promise. Though God’s law continues to function as it must in our lives, God’s mercy through Christ is the divine last word for humanity.

Step 5 — Advanced Prognosis: Welcomed
And because the Rejected One is now the Exalted One, we can embrace him and his word to us in faith. We are welcomed with open arms and can bask in his hospitality as we trust that the way he moves in our lives and the lives of those around us is God’s mercy management plan for the world. We are the “whoever” he was telling the twelve about.

Step 6 — Final Prognosis: Giving
Finally in our “whoever” status, we are able to welcome the prophet, the righteous, and the little one who needs a cup of cold water. We can give freely because Jesus first freely gave himself for us. The doors are open to preach the Good News to “whoever” we meet. We are not constrained by lawful restraints, but are called beyond them to our new life in Christ where giving as we’ve been given to is our way of life and our reward is secure. Whoever will may come.

Author

  • Crossings

    Crossings is a community of welcoming, inquisitive people who want to explore how what we hear at church is useful and beneficial in our daily lives.

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About Us

In the early 1970s two seminary professors listened to the plea of some lay Christians. “Can you help us live out our faith in the world of daily work?” they asked. “Can you help us connect Sunday worship with our lives the other six days of the week?”  That is how Crossings was born.

 

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