Our June 28 Sunday outdoor worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. Our social spacing seating arrangement assures minimal risk.
The July 5 worship service to be held in our sanctuary with members and friends in attendance is scheduled to be streamed live on the DeSoto Redeemer Facebook page. We will post a direct link to the recording here as soon as it is possible after the service.
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June 28 Sermon
Jeremiah 28:5-9 | Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18
Romans 6:12-23 | Matthew 10:40-42
Welcoming, that is what Jesus is talking about this morning, welcoming and receiving. It would seem that how we welcome someone is also linked to how we are rewarded. Now there is an interesting concept.
I was reminded of that a couple of years ago. There is this wonderful German word, “Gemutlichkeit.” If you look it up in a German-English dictionary, it is usually translated as “cozy.” It is not cozy. It refers to the overwhelming hospitality of the German peasant class. It is a tremendous act of Welcoming. Three years ago, several times in Germany, we were greeted at locales by the owner, or host, greeting the coach (on a tour, you don’t ride in a bus, it is a coach, whatever), with a tray of drinks. Sometimes it was wine or beer. Remember, in most places in Europe, you can’t drink the water there. It will make you sick. Or, sometimes it was schnapps. When we were visiting the town of Steinhagen, the home of the Linhorsts, we were greeted with schnapps a couple of times, and with enough food that I am sure that they are still eating the leftovers. It was overwhelming, and even Ruth and I, felt that we were welcomed as family (there was a Rose who married a Lindhorst (with a “d”) a hundred years ago in Ohio, so maybe). There are numerous cultures, including the Jews, who have what are called “Hospitality Laws.” Some of you have them in your backgrounds. They aren’t written down. Although some of them are alluded to in the Old Testament. They aren’t written down, because you are supposed to know them. You were raised in them.
In the Gospel, the key is who we represent. “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” So, we represent Christ, and in turn, through Christ, we represent God. I’ve been told by some people that I shouldn’t say that we are “ambassadors of Christ to the world,” that it is too strong a word. They are wrong.
“Ambassador” is to weak a word, for we are really more than ambassadors, we bring Christ, and God with us when we reach out in the Gospel. That is a truly powerful notion. And the words “carriers or bearers” doesn’t quite cut it. We carry some aspect of God and Christ to the world, in ourselves. Jesus says so, period. Wow!
Of course, that also means that we should be acting towards others, and the world, like Christ. Doesn’t it? It goes along with the Gospel lesson last week about teachers and disciples, masters and slaves. We cannot out do our teacher or master, but we are supposed to act like him, and for him in this world.
How? That is always the question, how? The answer is always the same too, in love. But, then we again ask, “How?” We like to have directions. Despite what we say, we like to be told what to do. We are afraid of doing something wrong. We don’t like real general instructions (well, actually, I prefer very general instructions, but I’ve learned that most people don’t).
Today, Jesus gives us a very simple example of compassion, and one which we can now doubt identify with this week, and the next several: giving someone a cup of cold water! (If you’ve seen the movie Ben Hur, the 1950’s version, I haven’t seen the new remake, you may remember when Jesus does precisely that to Judah Ben Hur, that gift gave him the strength to carry on, and how years later he remembered it as Christ went to the cross). There’s a nice simple act of compassion and hospitality! So simple, that we may indeed take it for granted, and yet one that can even be life saving in extreme circumstances (like a couple of days these last several weeks, love Missouri weather!). Water can be a real nice and needed gift on a sweltering day. A nice glass of cold water, to slake the thirst and make you feel more comfortable. And, contrary to popular belief, medical science holds that water is the most effective thirst quencher, not those things that you see advertised on TV.
An act of compassion does not have to be something outstanding, nor news worthy, it only has to be from the heart, for the sake of another. It may be as simple as holding the door for someone, or the giving of an arm lest someone stumble. True, it is the great acts which are remembered, and have stories written about, but it is also true that the simple, quiet acts of human compassion are those which bind us together as a people, and for us, as disciples of Christ. That is how we reflect Christ to the world around us, who gave us not a cup of cold water, but a baptism of water and the Holy Spirit, and the cup of his blood, shed for us, for the remission of our sins, and with that has given us the reward of eternal life. May we always reflect him, and work to transform the world to his image.