Today’s Gospel from Luke 10 Jesus explains to the disciples that the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. He goes on to say that if the townspeople welcome them, then they should remain there, eat what is set before them, cure the sick and let them know that the Kingdom of God has come near to them. I do love this reading, despite its harsh treatment of those who do not welcome people.
Since my birthday bash I have spoken with a number of people and the overwhelming sentiment that strikes me is how welcoming everyone was to one another. Yesterday, I heard again about the loveliness of my friends to one another. From the greeters at the door, to the folks running the video and photo booths, to those serving the refreshment, to the magnificent MC, everyone had a smile and radiated joy. My heart bursts with this joyful knowledge. I watched people interact for a few minutes and thought to myself This is soooo good! I love how they love each other. I know a couple of new friendships were formed on the committees and at the party itself. People were able to meet my family. Doctors on my team were even able to say hello to one another. Colleagues were introduced to my church friends. Relatives who had not seen each other in years sat at the same table and caught up.
I have not heard any complaints about the food–everyone ate what was set before them. In fact, so much food was brought that committee members were able to take some home. Hundreds of cupcakes were divided up to enjoy the next day. I know people are worried about me. The illness is terrifying for some folks. Somehow that night, the cancer was not cured but it did not overshadow the evening much. We all knew why we were gathered but still we were there to celebrate and not mourn. Maybe the sick were not cured that night but I know that many were healed on a different level, myself included. I was certainly continued to be loved into life even more than I have been. The Kingdom of God was definitely very near to all of us that night, found in the laughter, tears and kindnesses shared. We stood on very holy ground that night.
I am grateful still for all who came out. I cannot find the words to express my thanks to the organizers and elves of the evening. When I continue to hear how people welcomed one another on my behalf, I know indeed that the Kingdom was near and God was present. How blessed am I to be loved so deeply by so many.
When did you welcome someone and let them know that the Kingdom of God is near?
Who has loved you into life?
May my heart always find time to welcome others so that I may show them the Kingdom of God is near. Amen.