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I am honored to have earned a spot on the regular roster of The Text This Week resources.  If you’ve landed here from there, thank you for clicking over.  My goal is to blog Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so if you’re here early in the week, check back.  Be sure to comment if you have thoughts, and sign up for email updates.

–The Rev. Steve Pankey

21st Century Wheat and Weeds

The audio of this sermon is available on the Christ Church website.


We may not want to believe it given the rate of change in our world today, but the world we live in now isn’t all that much different from the world Jesus inhabited two-thousand years ago.  People are still people.  We may no longer turn out in droves for public executions, but more than 14 million people tuned in to watch Thursday’s parole hearing for O.J. Simpson.  We may not know where our boneless, skinless, tasteless, chicken breast comes from, but we are still very much reliant on the land, and the farmers to tend it.  There might be a television waiting to distract us in every waiting room, dining room, gas pump, and minivan, but we are still restless souls longing to find rest in the quietness of God.    This is why, I think, we continue have such a fascination with the parables of Jesus.  Despite their first-century plot-lines, which can seem so foreign to us, we can still find meaning in what Jesus is saying through the parables.

Personally, I love parable season.  It challenges me as a preacher, but more than that, it challenges me as a Christian.  This is especially true of today’s parable of the wheat and the weeds because it feels as though Jesus is speaking directly to me.  This parable occurs only in Matthew’s Gospel.  Some scholars think that he included this less popular parable because of the particular issues going on in his community.  It seems Matthew’s church may have been struggling with some Judgey McJudgersons who had a tough time understanding how false teachers and notorious sinners were allowed to go on living side-by-side with the faithful.  There were, to be fair, quite a few false prophets running around in the early days of Christianity.  You don’t have to read the New Testament for too long to realize that the struggle for the truth was a daily one.  Matthew’s challenge was keeping a community of faith together in a period of accusations and hardship.

Enter the parable of the wheat and the weeds.  Here Jesus deals explicitly with the problem of true and false – good and evil – living side-by-side.  He names the reality that sometimes wheat and weeds – children of God and children of the Evil One – occupy the same space.  The field is said to be the entire cosmos, so it seems reasonable that wheat and weeds are intermingled in every city, every church, every family, and, if we are honest, every soul.  Which brings me back to how this parable challenges me personally.  Most of you don’t know me well enough yet, but in time, you will come to realize that, like some of the members of Matthew’s congregation, when it comes to those who I think are false teachers, I too can be a Judgey McJudgerson.  This is especially true when it comes to one person in particular – Joel Osteen, the shiny-toothed “preacher” in a slick suit whose pithy sayings about “our best life now” get stuck in my craw when I think of holding hands with the dying, looking into the vacuous eyes of a dementia patient, or praying with parents who are trying to find something to hold onto as they mourn the death of a child.

I am the slave who is eager to pluck up the weeds.  I want to get out there, roll up my sleeves, and start pulling books from the book sale; tossing out false preachers.  I’m the member of Matthew’s church who struggles with why God allows the message of the Gospel to be corrupted, why terrible things happen to good people, and why the Evil One seems to have so much power in our world.  But as I spent a week reading, praying, and studying this passage, I quickly realized that the weeds I see in others aren’t nearly as important as the weeds that I’ve allowed to grow in my own heart.  Or as Jesus says elsewhere, I should probably deal with the log in my own eye before I worry about the speck in the eye of my neighbor.  So, what am I to do?  What are we to do?

That’s not an easy question to answer.  Despite the nice allegorical explanation given by Jesus at the end our lesson, this is still a parable, and parables are never as straight-forward as they seem.  As Eugene Peterson once suggested, parables are like narrative time bombs.  We hear them, and because they are familiar enough, we hold on to them, even if we can’t understand them, until one day, without warning, they explode with meaning in our minds.  Obviously, then, this isn’t a story about farming practices in the first century.  In fact, it seems Jesus farming technique left a lot to be desired.  The bad seed planted by the evil one was likely darnel, a poisonous rye grass that until it comes to seed, is nearly impossible to differentiate from good wheat.  By the time the slaves would have noticed the problem, the solution they suggest could have been easily done.  The wheat and darnel would have both been pretty well close to harvest anyway, and the damage done in uprooting the weed would have been fairly insignificant compared to the cost of the darnel seed falling to the ground, germinating, and having another year of bad crop to deal with.  Yet, Jesus instructs the slaves to wait so the harvesters can deal with it.  Jesus is sure that to cause damage to even one good wheat stalk would be a cost too high.

Beyond that, this isn’t just any parable, this is a kingdom parable, a story meant to tell us about how the reign of God is different than the prevailing wisdom of the world in which we live.  This isn’t a story about farming, but rather a story about how God’s reign turns the upside-down world right-side up.  How God makes the last, first and the first, last.  How God cares so deeply for one good wheat stalk that he’s willing to risk the entire crop to ensure its fruitfulness.  In the kingdom of the world, weeds don’t become wheat and dead men don’t come back to life, but with patience and faith, under the reign of God, both are possible.  When we see the world through the lens of this world, we are quick to grab weeds and toss them into the fire no matter the damage we might inflict, but God’s view is long range, God’s goal is the restoration of all of Creation, and God’s dream is a field full of wheat.  And so, the slaves are told to leave it to harvesters to deal with differentiating the good from the bad.  Who knows, by the time the harvest comes around, maybe the greatest miracle of all is that by the grace of God, weeds can become wheat.

It is hard to be patient in a world full of weeds.  Whether it is about the false prophet out there or the false hope I place in my own ability to judge, what I’m taking from this parable, this time, is the thing that God is probably constantly trying to teach me: God is God and I am not.  My job, as a patch of soil interspersed with wheat and weeds, is to continue to grow, to give thanks for the gifts of water, nutrients, and sun, and to hope that one day, by God’s grace, the fruitfulness of God’s wheat growing within me will outpace the danger of my weeds growing alongside.

The world in 2017 isn’t all that different than it was in the first century.  People are still people.  We would still prefer God come down and fix it all today, rather than wait for the kingdom to arrive someday.  We would still rather see the bad in the other than deal with the evil within ourselves.  We would still rather have nice clean explanations for the parables than let them bounce around our brains for too long, lest they challenge our nice and tidy worldviews.  But alas, that’s not how God works.  That’s not how grace works.  Instead, we are called to do what wheat does best: soak up God’s nourishing love, shine like the sun, and bear fruit worthy of the harvest.  God will take care of the rest.  Amen.

Careful weeding

For a short period of time between “A Bored Seminarian” and “Draughting Theology,” this blog was called “Digging up my own Foundation.”  It was a nod, esoteric as it may have been, to my early understanding of the priesthood as one who empowers and encourages their congregation until they find themselves essentially out of a job.  When it was pointed out that the best way to shorten that too long title was “Dig up MoFo,” I decided to make a change, but truth be told, that ideal of what parish ministry looked like was a bit short-sighted anyway.  No matter how much encouraging and empowering one does, as an ordained clergyperson, there are still things that I can do that members of the congregation can’t.  The real difficulty of this vocation is learning what one should delegate and what one must do.  Or, to put it in the context of Sunday’s Gospel lesson, what can one safely dig up and hand off and what must remain in the ground.

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Invasive Torpedo Grass is hard to pull up without damaging everything else

In reading my standard preaching resources, the consensus is that Jesus’ farming technique left a lot to be desired.  The weed planted by the evil one was likely darnel, a poisonous rye grass that until it comes to seed, is impossible to differentiate from good wheat.  By the time the slaves would have noticed the problem, the solution they suggest would have been easily done.  That is, the wheat and darnel would have both been pretty well close to harvest anyway, and the damage done in uprooting the weed wouldn’t been fairly insignificant compared to the cost of the darnel seed falling to the ground, germinating, and having another year of bad crop to deal with.  Yet, Jesus instructs the slaves to wait and let the harvesters deal with it.  He is worried that to damage even one good wheat stalk would be a cost too high.  Why is Jesus so careful in his weeding?

The answer comes right at the very beginning of the parable.  Jesus starts by saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to…”  This is a kingdom parable, a story meant to teach a lesson about what it looks like under God’s reign.  God’s reign turns the upside-down world right-side up.  It makes the last first and the first last.  It heals the blind, frees the prisoner, and reaches out to touch the lepers.  God’s reign is a world in which every tear is dried up and the oil of gladness is poured out in abundance.  In the kingdom of the world, darnel doesn’t become wheat and dead men don’t come back to life, but with patience and faith, under the reign of God, both are possible.  When we see the world through the lens of this world, we are quick to grab weeds and toss them into the fire, but God’s view is long range, God’s goal is the restoration of all of Creation, God’s dream is a field full of wheat.  And so, the slaves are told to leave it to harvesters to deal with the good and the bad.  Who knows, by the time the harvest comes around, maybe the greatest miracle of all is that by the grace of God, darnel can become wheat.

A Parable for the Church

Despite our ongoing fascination with it, Jesus didn’t talk much about the institution of the church.  In fact, the only reference to church in the Gospels comes in Matthew’s account.  In chapter 15, Jesus tells Peter he will be the rock upon which he will build his church.  In chapter 18, the word occurs several times as Jesus explains how to handle a fellow Christian, literally a brother, who sins against you.  In the Greek, it appears only three times (16:18, and twice in 18:17) while in the NRSV, the word occurs five times.  Still, it is worth noting that Matthew’s Gospel shows an affinity toward the church that would bloom out of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  It is helpful as we read other portions of Matthew’s Gospel to recall that it was written with the Church in mind.

Which brings me to the Gospel lesson for Sunday.  As parable season rolls on, Jesus channels his inner Joachim Jeremias by offering a doozy of an allegorical interpretation on the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares.  It is tempting to read this parable and think of the individual: how each of us has within our own hearts some good wheat mixed in with some uncontrolled weeds, but that isn’t what Jesus has in mind as he tells this parable.  Instead, as Jesus explains the parable, he has a much wider perspective.  He tells this story about a world in which there is good and there is evil.  As his explanation comes to a close, Jesus says that after the weeds – stumbling-blocks and doers of evil, are carried off to the unquenchable fire, what will be left is a pristine field of wheat that will “shine like the sun.”

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In his allegory, Jesus explains that this wheat that will be left over are the righteous, literally those who conform to the standard of God and are thereby in right relationship with the Father, which with Matthew’s heart for the Church in mind, led me into the Catechism of our Book of Common Prayer and the answer to the question on the top of page 855, “What is the mission of the Church?”  “The mission of the Church is to restores all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.”  That is to say, with apologies for mixing allegories, the reason the Church exists is to work the soil so that the wheat in our hearts chokes out the weeds.  The work of the Church is to help righteousness flourish in our hearts so that when the harvest times comes, there is a whole lot more wheat left shining like the sun than there is weeds burning in the furnace.

To be sure, the Church hasn’t always done a great job of this.  Often, weeds have been actively ignored, which in my flower beds means they grow wildly.  Sometimes, they are pulled up with haste, allowing their seeds to scatter and the roots to remain in tact, which only makes for more weeds a few weeks down the road.  Rarely, are the root causes of weeds addressed and the proper fertilization and watering for wheat utilized in order to facilitate abundant harvests.  All this to say, when I read this as a timely parable for the Church and a call to intentional discipleship training for an abundant harvest, I am quick to realize that we have a lot of work to do to facilitate healthy growth in restoring all people to unity, i.e. right relationship, with God.

Ironic Jesus

Sunday’s Gospel lesson is a doozy, and reading it in context doesn’t seem to help.  After sending his Apostles out with the instructions we’ve heard over the past three weeks, Jesus returned to his own ministry of healing and preaching.  Matthew doesn’t reiterate Jesus’ message, but we know that on this missionary journey, like all the others, he has be proclaiming that the Kingdom of God has come near.  This is the same message that John the Baptist preached during his ministry at the Jordan (see Mt 3).  Interestingly, it is during this time that John, now in prison, sends his disciples to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”

It is in response to this question from John the Baptist that Jesus engages in the teaching we will hear on Sunday.  The seemingly random aside about children in the marketplace, the woes to unrepentant cities that the lectionary skips, and even this prayer to the Father about thing hidden from the wise, are all a result of John’s somewhat surprising questioning of Jesus’ Messiahship.  But what really strange about all of this is how Jesus wraps it all up by saying, ““Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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That’s a serious eye roll, Ironic Jesus!

Is Jesus being ironic here?  After a chapter of pretty difficult apocalyptic teaching, he’s going to end with “my yoke is easy and my burden is light”?  Has he not heard himself for the last five minutes?  He has literally just condemned Bethsaida and Capernaum, the home towns of several of his disciples, to a fate worse than Sodom for their unbelief.  What is easy about this faith if John the Baptist can’t handle it?  How light can the burden possibly be if these towns filled with faithful Jews can’t carry his teaching?

Preachers, and by that I mean, I tend to isolate this final verse from the rest of the lesson and talk about how a Rabbi’s yoke was his teaching, and how Jesus’ commandments to love God and love neighbor would seem downright easy compared to the teaching of the Pharisees, but in context, what Jesus is suggesting is downright heavy.  That is, until we remember that the task of the disciple is not to accomplish faith on our own, but rather to allow Jesus to carry it for us.  John was struggling.  In prison for his teaching and looking at the horizon of his own demise, he wanted to be sure that he had done the right thing.  His faith faltered, if only for a moment, and he looked for reassurance.  What he got was the word that being in prison was exactly where he was supposed to be, and that while his burden seemed heavy, God was there to help lighten the load.  His death would not be in vain.  His faith, unstable as it might have been at the time, would not fail.  The burden of following Jesus, even to death, is light because we are not invited to carry it alone.

True Hospitality – a sermon

You can hear this sermon on the Christ Church website, or read it here.


I can’t help but wonder if one of the reasons Episcopalians are so hesitant to engage in evangelism isn’t the fear of hearing “no,” but rather the fear of hearing “yes.”  I know that has been true for me at times.  I’m always on edge when I know a friend is coming to church.  “Will they feel welcomed?”  “Can they find a parking space?”  “Will they know which door to enter?”  I’ve been thinking a lot about this as recently we welcomed Mark Richard as a Ministry Intern, and today we welcome our new Associate Rector and Chaplain to WKU, the Reverend Becca Kello.  Will they see the church as the loving and beloved place that I do, or will they instead notice the stained concrete near Moore Hall, the weirdly hidden in plain sight coffee pots in Surface Hall, or, as Mark already has, that the State Street doors are inaccessible 97% of the time?  (That’s the actual percentage – I did the math.) It can be nerve wracking to welcome a friend into one’s church, which is why I’ve spent a good chunk of time during my first six months here talking about evangelism, but thinking about hospitality.

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There are more church hospitality gurus out there than K-Cup options at Kroger, but one thing they agree on is that you have very little time to make a first impression on a guest.  Usually, within 10 minutes after the service has ended, a visitor has already decided if they will ever return.  You might not have noticed it, but during our three-Sunday journey with Jesus as he commissioned the twelve to preach the Good News on his behalf, we have heard Jesus lay the foundation for quick first impressions in the church, though the context is, admittedly, a bit different.  Two weeks ago, as Jesus began this teaching, he told the disciples that as they enter a house, they should offer greetings, and “if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.”  Jesus didn’t invite his disciples to be patient or to give a place a second chance at making a first impression, but rather, he was clear that they would know in an instant whether the Spirit was present and a place was ready to welcome a stranger.

In this morning’s lesson, Jesus circles back around to the topic of hospitality, and although he is speaking to those who will be welcomed, as we hear it today, Jesus offers a lesson on hospitality for Episcopalians who repeatedly affirm that we will seek and serve Christ in every person, especially those who walk through our doors.  God sends every guest that we receive.  Our task, if we are taking Jesus’ words seriously this morning, is to realize that when we welcome a guest, we welcome Jesus, and when we welcome Jesus, we welcome God into our midst.  This isn’t always easy.  I get that.  Sometimes guests look and smell more like Jesus the first century Galilean than we would like.  Sometimes guests have different ideas than we do.  Sometimes, they might even sit in the pew that your family has sat in for the last fifty years.  Every guest we welcome will change us, and to be truly hospitable is to be willing to allow that change to happen.

Truth be told, the Church has been struggling with how to welcome strangers since the very beginning.  Outlined in Acts chapter fifteen, the First Council of Jerusalem was called because the Apostles couldn’t agree on how to welcome Gentiles into the faith.  The author of the Letter to the Hebrews reminds his audience of the fundamental call of the church to welcome guests, admonishing them to “not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”  Even those whose lives are dedicated to hospitality can find it difficult. One of my favorite church stories, one that you will tired of hearing someday, comes from Kathleen Norris’ spiritual memoir, Dakota.  Norris reflects on the tradition of hospitality that has been a part of monastic life for hundreds of years, noting that a wayward traveler has always been able to find safety, rest, and a meal with the monks who welcomed them as they would welcome Jesus into their dwelling.  Yet even in the monastery, true hospitality can be difficult to maintain.  Norris recalls a story of an older monk talking to a younger monk about the challenge of welcoming every guest as he would welcome Jesus at the gate: “I have finally learned to accept people as they are,” the older monk says. “Whatever they are in the world, a prostitute, a prime minister, it is all the same to me. But sometimes I see a stranger coming up the road and I say, ‘Oh, Jesus Christ, is that you again?’”

To welcome a stranger as we would welcome Jesus is a hard standard to live up to.  Every congregation struggles with it to some degree.  I know that in the search process that brought me here, Christ Church did some work coming to terms with the reality that this wasn’t as hospitable a community as you thought you were.  Like many Episcopal congregations, y’all tended to be more friendly than welcoming.  That is to say, you were really good at making sure each other felt welcomed on Sunday, but often, a newcomer ended up as nothing more than a blip on the radar as she passed by the closed conversation circles in Surface Hall and slipped out the back door.  The good news is that you’ve taken it to heart and your Hospitality Team is hard at work looking for ways to help the entire Christ Church community be more welcoming.

One of the fundamental questions we have to ask in this process is “what does hospitality look like?”  Specifically, how does hospitality differ from simply being friendly?  While it may seem like Jesus doesn’t give us much to work with in this morning’s lesson, he shares a basic feature of true hospitality when he tells the twelve that “whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple– truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”  Offering hospitality doesn’t mean a grand buffet every Sunday, though I do hope we’ll have an honest to goodness coffee hour after the 10 o’clock service someday soon.  Hospitality doesn’t require a Starbucks, a glitzy Welcome Center with a credit card reader for first time givers, or even highly trained volunteers.  The key aspect of hospitality that Jesus highlights in our lesson this morning is the ability and the willingness to notice the other.

I cannot offer a cup of cold water to someone if they remain invisible.  To know that a person is in need of water, coffee, or a simple handshake requires first and foremost that I see them.  Seeing them not as an interloper, a pew stealer, or simply as a passerby, but as a human being, made in the image of God, who deserves to experience God’s love in this place.  Being hospitable means having our eyes open and our heads on a swivel to see the family searching for the nursery, the man wondering where the closest restroom is, or the woman unsure of which door to use to enter the church.  Being hospitable means recognizing the person in the next pew who can’t figure out why we speak the King’s English at 8 o’clock, or why there is an S in front of the next hymn at 10, or where to kneel at the communion rail.  Being hospitable means that before you catch up with that good friend after church, you spend three minutes seeking out and talking to someone you have never met before.

Being hospitable means seeing the other, discerning their need, and, in the model of Jesus, showing compassion by doing something to alleviate that need.  It doesn’t require heroics, but rather, hospitality is about inviting the other to experience fully the little things that make church a comfortable place for so many of us.  In so doing, we invite our guests to experience the love of God, the grace of Jesus, and the refreshment of the Holy Spirit.  And maybe, just maybe, if we are all doing our part to make Christ Church a welcoming community, we will be more inclined to invite a friend to join us, knowing that when they walk in, they will be welcomed as an honored guest, even as Jesus Christ himself.  Amen.

What does hospitality look like?

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How true is this slogan?

While being far from universally true, many Episcopal Church, and many congregations of other denominations as well, think of themselves as welcoming communities.  At the very least, they have ushers who will hand you a bulletin, signs that tell you where the bathrooms are, and at least one person who is willing to take a risk by reaching out a hand and saying, “Hi, I’m Steve, are you new here?”  The stark truth, however, is that most congregations that think of themselves as welcoming are actually only friendly at best.  That is, they are really good at making sure longtime members feel welcomed every Sunday, but the newcomer ends up being nothing more than a blip on the radar as she passes by the closed conversation circles at coffee hour and slips out the back door.

It can be hard to hear that what you thought was welcoming is nothing more than friendliness.  When one’s self-perception comes into question, it can lead to all kinds of distress, anxiety, and frustration.  I hear it here at Christ Church, as their Interim Rector, the Search Committee, and the good folks at Holy Cow! were quick to realize that they weren’t nearly as welcoming as they thought they were.  It can really sting to hear these words out loud, and to their credit, they’ve taken it to heart.  A Hospitality Team began to work diligently on the hard task of making a cultural shift from closed off friendliness to open armed hospitality.  We aren’t there yet, but progress is certainly being made.

One of the fundamental questions we have to ask in this process is “what does hospitality look like?”  Specifically, how does it differ from simply being friendly?  In Sunday’s Gospel lesson, Jesus doesn’t give us much to work with, but he does offer us a quick glimpse into a core feature of hospitality when he tells the twelve that “whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple– truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”  Offering hospitality doesn’t mean a grand buffet every Sunday.  It doesn’t require a Starbucks, a Welcome Center, or even trained volunteers.  The key aspect of hospitality is the ability and willingness to notice the other.

One cannot offer a cup of cold water to someone that remains invisible.  In order to know that a person is in need of water, coffee, or even a simple handshake requires that they first be seen, and seen not as an interloper or a passerby, but as a human being, made in the image of God, who deserves to experience God’s love in this place.  Being hospitable means having one’s eyes open and one’s head on a swivel to see the family searching for the nursery, the man wondering where the restroom is, or the woman unsure of which door to use to enter the church.  Being hospitable means recognizing the person in the next pew who can’t figure out why there is an S in front of the next hymn or what the heck a Sanctus is.  Being hospitable means seeing another, discerning their need, and, in the model of Jesus, having compassion on them, i.e. actually doing something to alleviate the need.  It doesn’t require heroics, but rather, hospitality is about inviting the other to experience fully the little things that make church a comfortable place, thereby experiencing the love of God, the grace of Jesus, and the refreshment of the Holy Spirit.

The Commissioning Part III

As we enter our third week of Gospel lessons from Jesus’ commissioning of the twelve with its concurrent warning of the persecution to come, the astute preacher will note that the tenor of the conversation has changed dramatically.  From rejection by family and being dragged into court, Jesus turns his focus back on what sort of welcome his disciples can hope to receive as they enter various towns and villages.  You’ll recall from two weeks ago (in the optional portion of a lesson that we rarely hear in the Season after Pentecost therefore effectively castrating this three-part lesson, but I digress, as is my wont, in ranting about the failures of the RCL) that early on, Jesus imagined for his disciples what hospitality might look like.

“Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.”

In Sunday’s lesson, he circles back around to the topic of hospitality, perhaps to end this commissioning on a positive note, but more likely, given the growing number of travelling missionaries by Matthew’s time, to encourage the wider audience to not give up on the several Hebrew Bible injunctions on hospitality.  To welcome a messenger of the Gospel, like one of the twelve, and later Paul, Barnabas, and Priscilla, to name a few, was to welcome Jesus himself into one’s home, and to welcome Jesus was to welcome God almighty under one’s roof.

As I’ve talked about over the past few weeks, being a disciples of Jesus was dangerous for the first three hundred or so years of Christianity.  Being an Apostle of Jesus, one who is sent to proclaim the Good News, was even more so.  The call to martyrdom was answered by thousands in those early years, and yet, those who went and those who welcomed them remained faithful.  While we focus on the great evangelists of the day, the Acts of the Apostles reminds us that without people like Lydia and Mary the Mother of John Mark the Gospel of Jesus would not have been able to spread like it did.  As we reflect on our own call to go and tell, it would behoove us also to think about how we might open our homes to welcome prophets, apostles, and even Jesus himself.