Thursday, June 29, 2017
Often when Christians think of welcome, we think about it inside out.
That is, we start with us on the inside, welcoming them who are on the outside.
We welcome others into our building. We welcome others into our worship. We welcome others into our fellowship. We welcome others to our table. We think about welcome as something we do for others. We’re on the inside, just waiting for someone to come to us seeking welcome.
Or at least, that’s what we think we would like to do.
And sometimes, it actually does happen.
But that’s not the kind of welcome Jesus is asking of his disciples. Not in this scripture, anyway.
If you’ve read the lines leading up this passage, Jesus is asking his disciples to go out into the world. And he sends them without money, or provisions, taking just the clothes on their backs, leaving behind family and friends, stepping out into the day with no plan for where they’ll rest their heads that night.
Jesus is asking his disciples to be the ones in need of welcome—and there’s a good reason for that.
Because the disciples have no one else to depend on, they will seek God in the faces of strangers all along the way.
Because the disciples have nothing, they will live lives of gratitude for all they receive.
Because the disciples have nowhere they belong, they will experience the true meaning of hospitality.
Because the disciples have not a thing to offer in return, they come to know grace in a powerful, life-saving way.
Because the disciples are on the outside, they will truly understand what welcome means, and long for the day they can offer it in return.
Maybe it’s time for disciples to start thinking of welcome in this way again, from the outside in.