When I was at “vicar training college”, the grace at dinner was “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” The other day, I was back at Christ’s Hospital, where I used to teach Classics, and I was invited to have lunch in the dining hall. The Grace at junior lunch is based upon that same passage of scripture (Colossians 3.17).
Many years ago I came across a song by the Christian group, Porter’s Gate, entitled Little Things with Great Love. The song is a meditation on the words of Mother Teresa “God does not call us all to great things, but calls us to do small things with great love.”
Thinking about this Sunday’s gospel passage, I was reminded about both the song and the Grace prayers. Jesus says whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and who ever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me (Matthew 10.40). This passage ends with “whoever gives even a cup of water to one of these little ones in the name of disciple will not lose their reward”. Children were not particularly important in Jesus day, so Jesus is making the point that even little things done with kindness, and for the sake of God because of our faith, are seen and considered as important by God.
It can be tempting to try and put faith in a box, and restrict God, and our worship and thanks to him, to Sundays. Or perhaps to restrict our prayers to times of church services, or the occasional moment when we remember them. To say that what we do in our daily lives has nothing to do with God or faith. But the reality is that God is with us all the time and he sees all the things we do, big and small. And as our faith grows ever deeper, it becomes woven in the tapestry of our very being, informing our every word and action.
As I write this, I am watching a school sports day. Not all of the children are gifted at sports, and some of their efforts can cause much loving laughter for the parents watching. But seeing the effort and intentionality in their faces and in their little bodies, watching the one who is absolutely rubbish at running getting lapped by the others but persevering just the same, makes me want to really celebrate that effort and determination, despite the dismal actual time achievement.
In the same way, our Heavenly Father looks at our intention, and our perseverance, and our effort, not just the objective achievement. He sees the intention of our hearts, and the love that prompts our actions, especially the ones that go unseen by others, and which are done in His Name.
The final verse of the Porter’s Gate song is this:
At the table of our Saviour, no mouth will go unfed
And His children in the shadows stream in and raise their heads.
O give us ears to hear them, and give us eyes that see,
For there is One who loves them. I am His hands and feet.
Blessings, Revd. Talisker