**Each week, the Methodist Church Vocations and Ministries Team are putting together worship sheets for use at home. These worship sheets include songs, prayers, readings and a reflection.
The theme this week is about rewards and the reflection below is about God's generous love.**
Reading: Matthew 10:40-42
Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever 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; and 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.’
Have you ever been sent out to knock on a stranger’s door with a message or a request? If so, did you wonder what sort of a welcome you might, or might not, receive? The disciples were about to take the good news of Jesus’ love into the wider world. In these verses Jesus reminded the disciples that as his followers, they were representing him and the one who sent him, his Father, God. For those who received and accepted them, it would be as if they were welcoming Jesus himself into their homes.
The concept of welcome and hospitality in the Middle East is of high importance. Visitors are treated as honoured guests and food and drink is generously shared. That generosity can be a humbling experience. On a fact finding visit to Jordan in 2015, I was welcomed into a damp and shabby basement by Nahla, a young Syrian refugee mother of six. There was very little in the way of furniture or equipment and nothing of comfort in this makeshift home. The older children were out in the streets scavenging for whatever scraps they might make use of or sell. Yet Nahla insisted I have some tea with her. Not wanting to take from her meagre supplies, I refused politely, but Nahla was offended by this. It was deeply embedded in her culture and tradition to offer hospitality to guests. Poor though she was, she wanted to share what little she had with her guest.
Generosity and welcome may come from the most unexpected sources, often from the poorest who understand what it is to have nothing.
I did not find knocking on doors for a house collection for Action for Children easy. It was even more challenging to find that those who lived in larger houses gave far less, or even nothing, than those who lived in more crowded or less affluent conditions.
Jesus gave an example of how people should show unselfish generosity to others through the giving of a cup of cold water to “little ones”, arguably not just children but the adult poor or marginalised too. (see Matthew 18.6).
Not everyone welcomes Jesus’ offer of love and salvation. Some may reject us and our gospel message. For those who choose to welcome Jesus into their lives, there is an amazing reward in heaven, eternal life and peace with Jesus Christ.
Like the disciples, our lives should reflect God’s generous love to others. How will you receive the one who knocks on your door?
We pray for your guidance and wisdom as your church finds new ways of reaching out into the world with the good news of your generous love and forgiveness. Gift leaders with the innovation and inspiration that comes from your Holy Spirit so that your church may be more effective witnesses of your saving grace.
Lord Jesus, as the world continues to suffer the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, we pray for compassion and fairness in sharing practical resources and medical expertise so that there might be healing and wholeness for all.
We pray that all those who have influence over the lives of others, might make decisions based on kindness and for the common good. We pray Holy Spirit that you infuse with love the hearts of those who use war as a weapon of power. Hear our prayers for an end to all conflict, and for recognition and support to be given to refugees and displaced people around the world.
Compassionate Christ, we pray for comfort and strength for those who are still isolated, for parents and children, for the elderly and those suffering long term illness. Lord, lift anxiety from those who are worried about the future, their jobs, businesses and their financial situation. May they know that they are not alone, that Jesus is always with them.
Holy Spirit we pray for ourselves, for our plans that have been changed, for the people we have lost and miss still, for our hopes and dreams for the future. Strengthen our faith, deepen our commitment to your ways and help us to better serve God and to see Jesus in everyone we meet.
Thank you Lord that you that your love never fails. Amen.
The reflections here are written by members of our congregation.