“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” (Matthew 10:40)
“Get out and don’t come back!” Okay, so that’s not a very encouraging start, is it? People and relationships are dynamic and complex. Friendships flourish, and friendships fall. Love wows, and love wanes. That’s real life. Hmm, still not very encouraging!
“You’re welcome!” Feeling included, encouraged and valued are needs that are etched deep within our human psyche. Simple words offered with a smile are a gift of grace. Rich and generous grace lives through us as we give or receive an authentic sense of welcome. That sounds a bit better, doesn’t it?
Where does welcome come from? Why do we share it with others, and how do we know it’s real? Welcome comes from our loving Lord, through Christ. God sends Christ as his gift of grace to welcome everyone into a relationship with him. We are welcome in Christ. Living in Christ is not something we need to pursue, earn or choose. He died for us. Everyone. No exceptions. All people are of immeasurable, inherent value to God as one of his created children.
The sacraments don’t just remind us of this; they welcome us into Christ. Baptism, God’s gift of grace, is, in itself, an effective action of God. Human faith does not create the sacrament and does not make it effective. We are baptised “into Christ”. Human faith merely receives the gift of divine grace.
In the Words of Institution of Holy Communion, we hear that the bread and wine are “given, for you”. This is also called the Eucharist; the Great Thanksgiving, a gift of love from Jesus to humanity.
Through the sacraments, we are immersed in the saving acts of Christ, that is, in his sacrificial death, resurrection and ascension to sit at God’s right hand.
Our loving Lord comes repeatedly through Christ in water, word, bread and wine. It’s personal. You’re welcome!
Living Lord, thank you for your gifts of grace today. Thank you for making me truly welcome, so I can fully live in you. Amen.