Worship led by Rev Donald McCorkindale, and Rev Fiona Ogg can be viewed on the YouTube Channel: www.youtube.aksm.org.uk on Sunday morning.
Reading – Matthew 10:40-42
“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me,
and whoever welcomes me
welcomes the one who sent me.
Whoever welcomes a prophet
in the name of a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward;
and whoever welcomes a righteous person
in the name of a righteous person
will receive the reward of the righteous;
and 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.”
Interconnectedness – Reflection from Fiona Ogg
Never mind Zoom, Google meets and huddles, Teams, Skype, ( other group meets are available ) and the inter-net, let’s think about the original way we are inter-connected.
We all pray, God please do this, or that, or make this happen, or save that situation.
Do we hope God will get off the clouds, materialise in the midst of a bad situation and suddenly all will be well. Of course we do!
‘Oh God, take away this pain, heal this beloved family member, and so on …’. There’s a time for these prayers, want an instant connection with God and the deep hope for a miracle. Absolutely.
But it’s not those emergency prayers I’m thinking of but of the everyday ones, like the teenage prayer I mentioned a couple of week’s ago asking God to help me get great results. In my adolescent, naive mindset I hadn’t quite grasped that God had already given me a brain and memory and it was up to me to use them! ( I got the message, eventually … )
The nurse caring for a covid or cancer patient is the answer to prayer –
God works through their knowledge and hands.
That’s a connection.
The teacher helping someone to unlock the skills needed for reading is the answer to prayer –
God works through their patience.
That’s a connection.
The carer feeding and washing their charge is the answer to prayer
God works through their caring hands.
That’s a connection too!
In this way, you and I are the answer to prayer. Even when we don’t know it! So many times we are positioned to be God’s presence with others. We are welcomed, we are the connection and that’s when, effectively, it’s God who is being welcomed.
We are all in the presence of God.
This week’s reading tells us that when anyone receives or welcomes a believer, then they are welcoming the person, and through that person they welcome Jesus, and when they welcome Jesus, they welcome God.
So interconnected that the theory of six degrees of separation doesn’t hold – this is an instant connection with God.
These are awesome promises!
Wherever God’s people are, we are already in the presence of God.
The Christian writer, Richard Rohr writes, ‘We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness.’ God is not separate from humanity; inside each person is a spark of God, we call it God’s Spirit. People of faith accept the Spirit within nudging us to do the work of God and to be the image of God in our attitudes and values.
The verse that mentions a cup of cold water is particularly interesting. It’s about giving and receiving. Giving what many would dismiss as such a small thing to do that it doesn’t merit any attention. Receiving, knowing that even this small thing is so very important because of what it represents. The cup of cold water would have been drawn from a well; which took time and effort; it was was given out of the household supplies; it was a response to a need. The person who gave and the person who received were both / each in the presence of God.
The small things matter. Jesus sent out the disciples to work in the world – that’s you and me today, Take note of the inner nudgings, give thanks for the small things, give and receive gratefully, attitudes and values matter, look for God in others.
This reading reminds us to be aware of the presence of God within and without – it’s all inter-connected.
May you aware of the presence of God in and around you today and always. Amen
can I pull up a chair?
Can I sit with here a while with you? Not too long though,
I don’t want to outstay my welcome.
You see, Lord,
It is so good to feel
wanted and welcome,
not to be turned away
or greeted with a “what now?”
I try, Lord, to be like you:
not to bristle when someone expects something from me; not to let my impatience show; to give people space and time.
I know, Lord,
that in saying “welcome”
it opens up possibilities,
some good and some that well, you know…
will take all my patience.
And in sitting with you awhile I am reminded again
what “welcome” looks like and feels like.
Thank you, God,
for letting me sit awhile.
I will leave you in peace now. Amen.
From Spill the Beans, Issue 35, p37