The Gospel appointed for the week is from St. Matthew 10:40-42. This version is from the Message, which was publicly read at the church I visited on Sunday:

“We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.”

* * *

When we follow Jesus we are drawn into relationship with God through the acts of mercy that we perform and are performed on our behalf.

We often imagine discipleship as requiring huge sacrifice or entailing great feats, and sometimes that is exactly what discipleship comes to. But at other times, Jesus seems to say, it’s nothing more than giving a cup of cold water to one in need. Or offering a hug to someone who is grieving. Or a listening ear to someone in need of a friend. Or volunteering at the local foodbank.

Discipleship is the small acts of devotion, tenderness, and forgiveness that tend the relationships that are most important to us. Except that, according to Jesus, there is no small gesture. Anything done in faith and love has significance for the ones involved and for the world God loves so much. . . .

. . . Last week I talked about huge numbers of unaccompanied children coming to America as they flee gang violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Yesterday, Judge Clay Jenkins had a press conference to say that 2,000 of those children will soon get temporary relief housing in Dallas. No other city or county has volunteered to help house the growing number of unaccompanied immigrant kids. Judge Jenkins said, “We can’t help all, but we can help some.” And he hopes that by Dallas acting, other counties will volunteer.

We do not have to save the world, Jesus has promised to do that, but we can care for the little corner of the world in which we have been placed. We can welcome and accept everyone we meet because everyone is God’s previous child, loved by God. And a cup of cold water can make a huge difference.

—Rev. Kerri Smith, Pastor of Greenland Hills UMC, an excerpt from a sermon entitled “Acceptance.

* * *

I was blessed to get to worship with the people of Greenland Hills UMC this past Sunday. Pastor Kerri’s sermon touched me deeply, and boy can she preach!

Advertisements