Our Gospel reading this morning is short. Jesus is continuing his talk to his disciples you may recall from our Gospel reading last Sunday. He is guiding them in what they should do after He is gone. He is laying on their shoulders the tremendous responsibilities he is asking them to do – but He is empowering them as well.

You – my friends, my disciples – whoever welcomes you welcomes me – Christ Jesus – and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me – God Himself.

A prophet is a wandering representative of Christ – we would probably call such a one a missionary – who should be given hospitality. One commentary note says that the hospitality should only be given for a short time so that they would not settle down but continue traveling. One who extends hospitality to them will receive a reward from God like that of a prophet.

The next category is that of a righteous person. Would not a prophet be such a person? Probably the righteous person would be a truly good person, a Christian, possibly a Christian traveling but not traveling as a missionary for Christ. Even such good people should be welcomed. What we know of travel in Roman times and the reputation of the places where one could stay when one traveled, we can understand why Jesus would encourage what would become the Christian community to stay with fellow Christians when traveling.

And lastly Jesus says, ‘whoever gives even a cup of water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple – truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.’

Who are the little ones?

We’re the ones who keep things going. We’re the ones who fill the pews on a Sunday morning – when we can. We’re the ones who watch our services on the internet when we cannot. We’re the ones who write a check to the church every week. We’re the ones who answer the phone in the office, who work the clothes closet on Tuesday mornings, who help with the dinner for the veterans at St. Francis House, who bring us the Festival of the Senses, who sing in the choir, who ring the handbells, who personally greet everyone who visits our service when we can, who check the doors after the service and turn off the lights…One of the commentaries says that Matthew refers to “humble Christians who are not church leaders…”

Where am I in all of this?

Where are you in all of this?

I would suggest that we all are in two places – not one but two.

We all are being welcomed by Jesus Christ. All of us.

This service is one long welcome to you. A welcome through every word that is said, through every note that is sung, through every note that is played – that God loves you and we love you.

I said we are in two places.

Where is the other?

When we become part of this family, this household of God, we, too, become his disciple, his prophet, his righteous person.

We become his beloved “Little One.”