|Theme:||Jesus loves the little children - Proper 22 (27) - 19th Sunday after Pentecost Yr. B|
|Object:||A Welcome Mat|
|Scripture:||People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Mark 10:13-14 (NIV)|
Have you ever seen one of these? (Hold up the Welcome Mat.) Do you know what it's called? It's called a welcome mat. We often place a welcome mat outside the front door to our house. What is the real purpose of a welcome mat? I think that sometimes it means, "Please wipe your feet before you come into my house," but the word welcome really means to greet someone in a warm and friendly way. When someone comes to our house, do we really make them feel welcome? What if it is someone whose skin is a different color from our own? What if it is someone who doesn't dress as nicely as we do?
Sometimes I wonder if people feel welcome when they come to our church. Does the homeless person feel welcome in our church? Do people from different races feel welcome in our church? Here is a question you might want to answer. Are children made to feel welcome in our church? What if they don't know how they are expected to act in the worship service? What if they whisper and pass notes to their friends? What if they wiggle and squirm and disturb our worship?
This is nothing new. Even in the day in which Jesus lived some people were not made to feel welcome. Even Jesus' own disciples sometimes didn't understand that everyone was welcome in the Kingdom of God. One day Jesus was teaching and people were bringing little children to have Jesus touch them. The disciples criticized the parents and told them to quit bringing their children to Jesus. When Jesus heard what his disciples were saying, he was very upset. "Let the children come to me and don't stop them!" Jesus said. "The Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. Anyone who doesn't come like a little child will never enter." Then Jesus took the children in his arms and blessed them.
Wow! Jesus sure knew how to make a child feel welcome, didn't he? Can you imagine how those children must have felt when Jesus took them up in his arms and blessed them? Shouldn't you and I make everyone feel welcome like Jesus did?
Dear Father, we want to learn the lesson that Jesus taught us. Help us to make everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, feel welcome in our homes, in our church, in our schools, and in our circle of friends. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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