“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” Sayings about welcoming a messenger were common in the Mediterranean world; welcoming a messenger meant welcoming the person who sent the messenger. If a king sent an emissary, the emissary was to be treated as the king himself. Jesus quotes this saying in Matthew, Luke and John, giving his authority, granted by the Father, to his followers. Too often this authority has been abused in evangelism, portraying God as threatening with eternal damnation and bribing with promises of eternal bliss. No wonder Episcopalians shy away from the dreaded ‘E-word’!
Let's think closely about what Jesus is saying here, and what he said in last week’s gospel story. He is talking about acting like God, not like gods. We are each a picture of the God we believe in. We resemble the master we serve.
What can we do this week, this day, this eternal present moment to show others that God is merciful, patient, generous, forgiving, always steadfast in loving-kindness? What societal or personal broken relationship can we begin to mend? Who needs to be blessed with the blessings God has entrusted to us? What can we do to share God’s loving care in our particular spot on this earth? Remember your English teacher’s advice about writing? “Show, don’t tell.”