Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mind the Gap?

If you've been to London and ridden the tube, you've heard the frequent announcement, "Mind the gap."

It's a warning to be careful and avoid stepping into the space between the platform and the tube car. You hear the same warning when you ride the trains in Britain.

I'm thinking about gaps this evening after reading Evening Prayer and the gospel lesson for the Daily Office. It's from Mark 9. Verse 37 and following speak to me--or rather God the Holy Spirit speaks to me.

Jesus is teaching his disciples, when He reaches out and welcomes a child. Children in his day, first century Palestine, were nobodies. They had no rights--no value, really.

And yet, here Jesus--God with us--is, receiving the child and putting his arm around the child. He says that if you receive a child, you receive me and receive the One who sent me.

What I hear God the Holy Spirit saying to me is that when I receive anyone who is weak and worthless in the eyes of this world, then I receive Jesus and the One who sent Him, the Heavenly Father Himself.

When I receive the other, I welcome him or her. I put my arm around the other in an act of friendship, solidarity, service. I love the other and receive Jesus and the One who sent Him.

And God receives me, puts His arm around me. We're one.

When I fail to love, I let the gap between me and God remain. But when I mind the gap and remember to love the other, then I close the gap between me and God. I'm united to God.

So mind that gap.

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