Friday, 23 March 2012

Friday - Lent 4

Heavenly Father,  have pity on us.  Guard and bless all travellers.  Comfort the afflicted.  Support the aged and care for the sick.  Have mercy, Lord.   When you call us to leave this world, give us grace to trust in Your redeeming love.  Have mercy, Lord.  You died for us that we might die to sin;  You rose for us that we might have eternal life. Have mercy, Lord and grant us Your peace.   Amen  (Taize, “Praise in All Our Days”  Mowbray  1981).

Read:  St. Matthew 10: 11 – 15

Now Jesus gives the disciples instructions on their behaviour while travelling.   Stay at  a modest place with modest people.  Note it doesn’t say the disciples stayed at Inns… they stayed with people.  Remember in the Middle East that hospitality was a part of their culture.   Opening one’s home to a traveller was a given. 

The disciples were to knock on a door.  If they welcome the disciple,  the disciple was to be gentle in their conversation.  But if they didn’t welcome the disciple, the disciple was to quietly withdraw.    The disciples were not to cause a scene.   The disciples were to shrug their shoulders and be on their way.  

In some translations,  it says if the people would not receive the disciples then the disciples were to shake the dust from their feet and be on their way.   Shaking dust from one’s feet is an image of Jews who had been in pagan territory.  They shook the dust from their feet to that they might not make the holy land unclean.  Thus,  an unwelcome house or town is to be treated as a heathen. 

Hospitality.   How do we provide hospitality to those who are doing God’s work today?  Do we open our homes and our tables up to Ministers and Elders?    Just as the disciples were to spread the Good News of Jesus,  those who opened up their homes to the disciples were helping spread the Good News of Jesus.  

Today,  give your Minister or Elder a call and invite them for a meal!

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself,  and God the Father who has loved us, and given us by His grace eternal consolation and joyful hope,  comfort our hearts and strengthen them in every good word and work.  This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.   (Taize, “Praise in all our Days”  Mowbray, 1981).

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