One of the enduring features of our faith is the idea that we are “children of God.” It is a concept that frequently appears in our prayers and hymns. I think it endures because it comforts us when we are afraid and challenges us when we are comfortable.
It is so easy for us to argue about which one is the best, just as the disciples had as they traveled with Jesus (Mark 9:30-37). We may have the good sense not to argue so openly about it, but we surely harbor thought of greatness. It may not even be for ourselves, it might be for our country, province, church or team.
Jesus surely knew human nature as well as we do and that our pride often proves to be a stumbling block on our spiritual journey. His teaching in today’s Gospel regards servant-hood, but his example has to do with welcoming children and not just welcoming children but by welcoming them we welcome God. Can it really be that simple?
The idea that is being expressed is one in which those who may be thought of as less important are in fact just as important as we are. Sometimes this idea of being a child of God’s is comforting. When I really need it I can bring peace to myself by reminding myself of the love God has for all God’s children, even me. But, mostly Jesus is challenging his disciples (and us) to take on an attitude of welcome to everyone, no matter who they are, because by doing so we welcome God. Welcoming the child is welcoming the parent.
Our Mission statement says that we are, “called to show the heartfelt hospitality of a kind and caring community that seeks to serve Christ in all persons.” We have heard and understood what Jesus is telling his disciples in today’s Gospel. All that is left is to be what God has called us to be, “children of God,” welcomed and welcoming.