My Dear Friends,
This week’s Thursday’s Thought for Sunday’s Service is based upon Matthew 10:40-42:
“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” (Matthew 10:40–42, NIV)
Today’s passage describes welcoming the gospel message in a positive light as it comes through a variety of individuals… without also stating the ‘other side,’ that if one refuses welcome to the likes of Jesus, or a prophet, or a righteous person, or even a child, he or she might end up in a dark and desperate place. Would that be like hell?
I’m reminded of my father, who I perceived to be a positive thinker. In a connecting way that makes sense to me at least, I would also describe him as a person whose welcome sign was always on, whose door was always open. Sometimes, in my growing up years, I would wonder why his approach didn’t seem more ‘balanced.’ In friendly arguments with him I would posit that as we share with one another there are negative aspects to every issue that should be considered. Shouldn’t some things be shut out, closed off? Not that I never thought that he did not understand the ‘other side’ of things as he communicated with me or anyone else. He certainly had experienced their destructive consequences, more deeply than I initially thought. In retrospect, I perceive his perspective was influenced from when he was a soldier in the Second World War. If at no other time and place, he had a thorough image of what hell on earth is like, seared into his memory. I wonder if it compelled him to want to keep his door open rather than closed… to keep his welcome sign on, more than ever.
When a welcome to experience the gospel is extended in a positive manner, like it is when extended by Jesus, or a prophet, or a righteous person, or a child, without the threat of hell or despite its consequences, it’s suggestive of a powerful choice.
It puts the focus upon the positive and suggests a compelling reason to believe in the one whose welcome it is.
Rev. Richard Wagner