In our church, everyone in worship is invited to participate - no matter what their faith background. This can be somewhat radical for people from other denominations or faith traditions. In other churches, there are rules and procedures about when people are able and invited to take communion. In our denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA), all those who have learned about communion and it's meaning are invited to participate.
This way of welcoming people is reflective of Jesus' words and teaching in our scripture passage this week. Mark writes in his Gospel that everywhere Jesus went people that came to see and hear him teach about God. Sometimes they brought friends and family who were sick for Jesus to heal. Sometimes parents came with their children in their arms wanting Jesus to touch them and give them God’s blessing.
One this particular day Jesus had a lot of people around him and those pesky Jewish religious leaders (the Pharisees) were close by - as always - and asking all the questions. Right before this passage, in verses 2-12, Jesus answers questions about divorce (which is a conversation for a whole other post!)
The disciples probably thought Jesus looked tired and so they stopped some of the parents that were coming to Jesus with their children. But Jesus didn’t want the disciples to send away the families. He said
“Let the children come to me—you will need to be like these children if you want to be in God’s kingdom. "
Then Jesus hugged and blessed each child, showing them God’s love. Jesus throughout his teachings always sets the example of welcoming those who are not in a place of power. In his time, women and children were dependent on the men in their families and communities. They didn't wield much influence and were rarely seen and never heard. Jesus shows through his words and actions that everyone is welcome to the table.
Here's what I am thinking about this week:
How would it feel to never, ever be seen - but then been seen and welcomed by Jesus?
I wonder how it feels to be hugged by Jesus?
Who don't I see this week? And what can I do to help someone feel seen, heard, and loved?
Come to church on Sunday and share communion with us! Be seen, heard and feel loved!