Welcoming the Children - Mark 9:33-37

Welcoming the Children - Mark 9:33-37

Dialogue and Storytelling

Randy:  God calls us to be a church of welcome and a church that puts the word of God into action…

Leah:  a church that measures greatness not only by what we do inside our walls but by the lives we touch in the greater community beyond these walls.

Randy: We are called to give our lives in love and service to all of God’s children, especially those who are the most vulnerable and in need of the welcome, love and support which we can help provide. 

Leah:  Who are some of God’s children who need the welcome embrace of the body of Christ?

#1:  Hello, I am here to share the story of Robert as if it were my own story.  Here goes.

My name is Robert. I am ten years old.  I would like to tell you about what it is like to experience homelessness. Yesterday at recess some kids ganged up on me, teasing me about not having a home  and shouting things like, “You’re poor, you’re dirty, and your hair looks like you don’t even own a comb!”  I yelled back, “I don’t care what you think.  I don’t need you.  I can handle things all by myself!”  But I felt like a worn-out dusty toy, all alone on an empty shelf. 

Called into Relationship by Pastor Leah Rosso

Called into Relationship by Pastor Leah Rosso

The one thing most people remember about Jonah— even non-Christian people— is that he
was swallowed by a fish. And people ask me, “Do you really think he was swallowed by a fish?”
But the truth is, as a colleague of mine says, Jonah’s living in a fish’s belly is actually the most
believable thing about this story. The book of Jonah is written as satire. It is a story in which
Jonah does everything wrong; says all the wrong things; goes the wrong way when he is called
by God. Maybe you’ve had days like that too. The whole story is meant to be funny— everyone
knows the Ninevites never repented! But, like most satire, it really only rings funny if you don’t
agree with Jonah.

Like SNL, or late night TV, this book of the Bible is meant to poke fun at the politics of Jonah’s
time; at the cultural understanding of what is right.

Following God's Call by Pastor Leah Rosso

In 1963, when the march on Washington was organized and Martin Luther King, Jr. stood up to speak to the 250,000 people who had peacefully gathered at the Lincoln Memorial, MLK’s speech did not include the language of his dream. He had a fully written out speech, carefully crafted and approved by the leadership that was with him. He was giving that speech, was a good 10 or 15 minutes into it, when Mahalia Jackson— Gospel singer and friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. shouted out, “Tell them about your dream, Martin.” And Martin Luther King, Jr. began, “I still have a dream...” In that moment he stepped into his calling. He heard the voice of God through Mahalia Jackson to share the dream God had put on his heart, and he followed that call.

Martin Luther King Jr, is one person in a long line of people called by God to stand up for the oppressed; to point out places of hypocrisy and cruel leadership; to care for the widows and orphans and the poor.

Thousands of years before, God had called a boy named Samuel. We are told, as the story begins, that it is a time when God’s voice was rarely heard. So rare, in fact, that even though Samuel lives in the Temple; even though he grew up in the Temple; he doesn’t expect to hear from God. It takes God calling him three times; it takes him going to Eli in the middle of the night, waking him up three times, before either one of them gets an inkling as to what is really going on. As Eli gets more and more annoyed at being woken up, it finally dawns on him that maybe it’s God calling Samuel and so he says to Samuel, “the next time you hear someone calling you, say ‘Hear am I, a servant of the Lord.’” And finally on the next try, Samuel responds to God’s call.

Global Migration in Any Age by Pastor Leah Rosso

For the last few years Todd and I and the girls have gone to the airport right after Christmas in order to spend time with his family. It’s a crazy time to travel, so we try to make it easy on ourselves by packing as lightly as we can, wearing shoes that can slip on and off, limiting any liquids we need to bring on the plane, etc. etc. but there are always things that are difficult to plan for— longer than expected lines, my kids freaking out at the security dog standing idly by, snacks they decide they don’t like, planes that don’t take off on time. But every time, even with the craziness of it all, I get excited about it, because I’m going somewhere I want to go and I know I can return when I want to return.

The first time I really realized the privilege I had was when I was traveling with my friend Janak. Janak is from India and we were traveling as a group in South Africa. We wanted to just hop over the border in Swaziland, take a few pictures in the national park, and come back. But Janak couldn’t go. He had a visa in which he could enter the country once and once only. If he was to leave for any reason—even for ten minutes— he wouldn’t be able to get back in. So the other car went to the national park, and ours drove on, with me realizing I had privileges I never even realized.