This past Sunday, our message was based on Matthew 10:40-42. Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” These words emphasize the interconnectedness between Christ, his messengers, and the One who sent him. They reveal that when we extend a warm welcome to someone, we are not only receiving them but also receiving Christ himself. When we don’t accept them, especially those who are messengers of Christ, we also reject Christ and God. 

The act of welcome is rooted in hospitality and extends far beyond our church walls. The message of welcome transcends time and culture. It carries profound significance in today’s society, often marked by division, exclusion, and fear of the stranger. As followers of Christ, we are called to break through these barriers and actively embody the true spirit of welcome.

This week, we celebrated as a country Independence Day. We remember that not long ago, millions of immigrants traveled to this country via Ellis Island, where they were welcomed. A part of their story, which has become our story as a country, is etched on the Statue of Liberty with the following words:

The New Colossus

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

 With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

 Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

 A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

 Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

 Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

 Glows worldwide welcome; her mild eyes command

 The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

 “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

 With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

 Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

 The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

 Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

 I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 Emma Lazarus

 November 2, 1883

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