Welcome can feel like a familiar and comforting word. It appears on airport signs and doormats. We hang it on our walls and read it on websites. “Welcome home!” “We welcome your business!”

Paul’s words in this passage, however, remind us that real welcome is not always so easy. Truly welcoming one another as Christ has welcomed the people of God is a rather frightening prospect. Jesus’ welcome makes him the object of ridicule and derision; he gets the reputation of one who spends his time with sinners. Jesus welcomes the rich and powerful and those whom society has declared unclean. Ultimately, Jesus Christ welcomes humanity and all of creation so fully that he enters into the vulnerability and danger of our violent world. He welcomes us in spite of our sins, welcomes the world that rejects him, and finally welcomes death for our redemption and forgiveness. That is a radical and risky welcome. That is the welcome of Christ. Paul invites the Roman church, and all followers of Christ, into that welcome.

Welcoming one another as Christ has welcomed us requires more than hanging a sign or putting out a doormat. It requires opening ourselves to one another and seeking one another’s wholeness. Such a welcome involves risky vulnerability; we might get a reputation for welcoming the wrong sort of people. We might face rejection. We might even end up in danger. In all of those risks, though, we are offered a sense of certainty and hope; Christ has welcomed us. Our Savior has opened his arms wide in welcome, even unto death. As we seek to live in harmony with one another and welcome one another, we can find sustenance in Christ’s sacrificial and eternal welcome.

Glorious God, grant me the courage to welcome others as Christ has welcomed me. Amen.

Rece las Escrituras usando Leccionario en Audio
Leer Matthew 11:2-11

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Leccionario Semanal
December 2–8, 2019
Resumen de la Escritura

The readings from the Hebrew scriptures look forward to the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah describes a root from the family of Jesse, that is the family of David, that will rule fairly and usher in an age of peace. The psalmist extols the virtues of a royal son who defends the poor and the oppressed and causes righteousness and peace to abound. Christians traditionally read these psalms as prophecies about Jesus Christ. Paul in Romans quotes several prophetic passages from the Hebrew scriptures, but he begins by emphasizing that those writings were given for our instruction. Christianity without the Hebrew scriptures lacks its foundations. Just as we prepare our hearts during Advent for the arrival of the Christ child, John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus in Matthew.

Preguntas para la reflexión

Read Isaiah 11:1-10. What appeals to you in Isaiah’s vision for The Peaceable Kingdom? What challenges you?
Read Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19. Consider the ways you lead in your church, community, or work. How do you nurture the life God has created in these environments? How can you better lead toward God’s righteousness, justice, and peace?
Read Romans 15:4-13. How can you welcome others as Christ has welcomed you?
Read Matthew 3:1-12. How can you prepare yourself to accept a wild or risky proclamation of God’s kingdom?

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