Sunday, July 3, 2011

June 26 (Proper 8) Sermon

Just a brief thought about the Gospel for today – How do we welcome Christ?

That is the challenge before us from the Gospel, how to welcome others in the name of Christ. Whether it be the stranger who comes before us or a friend, we are to treat them as if it was Jesus himself and by doing this we follow in his footsteps in how Jesus treated others. We can think of such hospitality through the acts we have given…

· Helping Tom Gilbane become part of this community, even for such a short while, as we gave him a Bible and a place that was a spiritual home for a wandering soul.

· I think of those who walked those Peace walks a few years ago around CT, who stayed here with us for a night, we offered them food, conversation, a place to rest.

Such acts are indeed what Christ calls us to do. They are part of our mission: to welcome everyone with God’s love on their journey of faith. Be it here at this altar or in our undercroft. But how do we do welcome Christ into our busy lives?
The writer Barbara Jurgensen tells the story about how her busy life had kept her from living the kind of Christian life she wanted to live. And so one night, she prayed to God to help her live a really Christian life the next day.

Before she even got out of bed the next morning, her next-door neighbor phoned, saying she had a terrible toothache. The dentist could see her right away, but her little boy was in bed with the measles. So Barbara went over, gave the child his breakfast and took care of him. That filled the morning.

After lunch, a friend who had been in and out of a mental hospital stopped with a couple of dresses, asking if Barbara would help her shorten them. The two women worked together for most of the afternoon.

Near supper time her husband came in announcing that he’d invited two new acquaintances to dine with them, a married couple. The man was having trouble finding work because of a prison record. “I hope it’s okay with you that I invited them,” her husband said and Barbara agreed. By bedtime, Barbara wondered how, with all those interruptions, she could live the kind of Christian life she’d like to. (Barbara Jurgensen’s You’re out of Date, God?)
She eventually realized, of course, is that God had been in all those interruptions. “One sign of God is that we are led where we did not intend to go.” She had welcome Christ into her midst by her Christ like acts during that day. She wasn’t thinking about it, but she did it all out of love. May our lives be filled with such love, such generous acts to friend and stranger, so that we can embody Christ by what we do and welcome all. Amen.

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