"Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me…whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple-- truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward." (Matthew 10:40; 42)
Could it be that easy? Could it be that all one needs to do to welcome God is to welcome a follower of Jesus on love’s mission or one of God’s ‘little ones’ in the simplest of ways!? I mean, if this is true, and I believe it is, our lives should be one grand welcome party! For, in every welcome of love’s mission, hospitality is offered to God, space is made for God to be in our midst– God, the author of life and salvation!
That’s an amazing thing to consider! It beckons us to model for the world what we’ve experienced in God’s life. As God makes room for us to abide in His rich life of love, so we are invited to both go and make room for others and accept the invitation others give for us to be welcomed through their own offerings of loving hospitality.
Welcome or “making room for the other” is at the very center of our faith because it reveals the very heart of our God. God is the God of hospitable and welcoming space. So he sends his disciples on a mission to extend God’s welcome and each time the welcome is reciprocated, God is welcomed, and where room is made for God, room is made for wholeness and newness of life that literally transforms the world.
This summer, the St. Thomas’ Whitemarsh senior high youth group made like those first disciples and were commissioned to share the good news of God’s love in word and deed with our friends in Crisfield, MD. And we have good news to share – we were welcomed with open arms! And this means God was welcomed with open arms. And when God is welcomed with open arms, newness begins to spring into existence.
5:30am – adults wake up for a little QUIET time!
6:30am – Youth missioners are up getting ready for the day.
7:00am – Breakfast (Prepared by the missioners)
7:30am – Morning Prayer (led by the missioners)
8:00am – Work day begins
12:00pm – Lunch (prepared by the missioners)
1:00pm – Back to work!
4:00pm – work day is over
4:15pm – Holy Eucharist led by Fr. Rob Laws (St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Somerset Parish)
5:00pm – Missioners split up grocery list for dinner to divide and conquer in the grocery store.
5:30pm – Missioners prepare dinner together.
6:15pm – Dinner time.
7:00-10:00pm – Showers and Free Time (included crabbing / steaming and eating the crabs we caught, swimming in the bay, enjoying a campfire and more!)
10:00pm – Debriefing (Highs and Lows from the day and sermon preparation for Sunday)
11:00pm – Lights out!
In closing, here are a couple quotes from the week that really give you an idea of the impact our team made in Crisfield, MD. The first is from Miss June (93 years old). She came outside to find us taking a break in (not under but IN) her magnolia tree. We came down from the tree to a grateful face. She said, “I want you all to know that you have made my whole summer. My place needed this attention so badly and you made it look so beautiful!”
This one comes from Mr. Joe Pinto, director of Relief and Recovery for the Episcopal Diocese of Easton, MD. While we were on the ferry to Smith Island, I was standing beside Joe at the front of the boat with most of our youth. Joe was silent for a moment and then looked at me and said, “You know, Tommy, when I watch the way these kids work and interact with each other and others, I know that the future of this country is in good hands.”
Thanks be to God. Amen.
Check the blog tomorrow for some participant reflections from this trip!