Today's Scripture Reading
40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
DisciplesNet has become far more international far more quickly than any of us dared hope when we began. We are thrilled to have contacts in more than 60 countries. Our roots also remain in Indiana, and we are a member congregation of the Indiana Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Among other things, this means that we are part of a formal partnership linking the Christian Church in Indiana to the Mbandaka District of the Disciples of Christ in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We have just celebrated the third anniversary of this partnership which has been a magnificent blessing to both churches. My wife Susan and I were part of a delegation who visited Mbandaka a few weeks ago.
Jesus’ words in this passage came alive for us. We have never been so welcomed in our lives! When we first arrived, we were escorted out of our cars some 300 yards away from the entrance to the church building. People lined both sides of the road - it seemed like they were six or eight deep - and they sang, danced, and prayed our welcome as we walked all the way to the building. They placed cloths on our path as we walked, taking them up as we passed and rushing them forward to lay them down again so our feet did not touch bare ground.
The image of Palm Sunday inevitably filled our minds. Some of us were actually in tears by the time we entered the church. It was one of the most beautiful and humbling moments I have ever experienced.
For our brothers and sisters in Christ in Congo, hospitality is not a simple act of welcoming. Hospitality is deeply ingrained in their beliefs and culture. It is not something they do; it is literally part of who they are. I believe we truly had a glimpse of Christ’s realm on that day.
It is so easy for us to be arrogant, O God. We believe we know best, and are sometimes slow to open ourselves to receiving and learning from those whose ways are different. Help us to see you in all our brothers and sisters that our loving, teaching, and learning from one another may be pleasing in your sight. Amen
Today's devotion was shared by
Rev. Robert Shaw
Associate Minister, DisciplesNet Church