This week has continued to be a week of people asking us to look at life from there point of view those who have been let down in unbelievable ways by Kensington Council in the Grenfell Disaster We have seen wonderful responses to that disaster responses that have shown humanity in a good light in a caring .. loving light The clothing collections…. the food collections the things needed for all those affected to keep on living.. We have seen the other side of the story too someone making a false claim for a family they did not have politicians resigning for “apparent mistakes” When we don't own what is going on around us when we don't open our eyes when we wont look further than our own needs we damage ourselves and we damage others.. Jesus told story after story of people projecting their fears their complacency onto others and we see that so much at the moment the disabled have been treated as pariahs the elderly as selfish and grabbing the young as uncaring and un-welcoming.. The negative response we are seeing are responses through fear and desire to hold on to situations which can no longer be the same.. As Christians we are told again and again by Jesus that we are to welcome the stranger we are to care for the needy in society the lost the vulnerable.. This week we also heard of the death of Michael Bond The writer of Paddington Bear.. Paddington as you probably know was found in Paddington Railway station by the brown family sitting on his suitcase with the words “wanted on the voyage” written on the side of it.. With a luggage tag tied on his blue duffle coat the luggage tag read “Please look after this bear.. Thank you! “ The luggage tag had been written by Paddington's auntie Lucy it was she who sent Paddington from darkest Peru.. From where Paddington claimed he travelled all the way to England in a lifeboat and ate marmalade sandwiches as he travelled.. many people passed Paddington before the Browns stopped and through asking the questions of the bear the hearts of the Browns were moved enough to welcome Paddington into their home 32 Windsor Gardens of Harrow Road.. Through welcoming Paddington into their lives and their home The Browns lives were turned upside down…. changed as is Paddington’s life is changed As paddington learns to bathe learns to travel on the underground Gets lost shopping Learns about art with Mr Gruber Visits the theatres, the seaside and has many adventures along the way.. And not its not only the life of Paddington and the browns who are changed as the community welcome Paddington the life of the community are changed.. The story of Paddington reminds me very much of the reading we have here today.. Jesus is sending out the disciples he is sending them out into the world to welcome others to see others to be Jesus to others The Browns could have chosen not to show a welcome to Paddington…. Only the browns opened their hearts their family and their home to Paddington only the browns welcomed him.. I know Paddington is a story I loved the stories as a child I still love the stories because they talk about welcoming welcoming the stranger welcoming the different opening hearts and minds to welcome someone very different to who the Browns were… How we welcome one another how we take time to find out who the stranger and those we know well truly are The disciples of Jesus faced much opposition as they were sent out in the authority of Jesus to share the Good News the gospel the transforming love of Christ Prophets sent out in the name of the prophet Disciples sent out in the name of Jesus in the power of The Holy Spirit.. If we take Jesus seriously about being hospitable and welcoming welcoming the other just as for the Browns it changes the way we live it changes the way are.. welcoming another is transformative Jesus uses an image of marriage when he talks about welcoming him just as a bride is prepared for her bridegroom Which is helpful today as Simon and Tina are renewing their wedding vows Over the years… as you first met each other you welcomed each other into your lives and that welcoming was transformative changing in ways you would never have thought.. As the years went on you welcomed your boys you welcomed other changes some changes as in all of our lives would have been better not to welcome Some changes in our lives are not healthy or welcome Those changes happen often when we don't see the other when we relax into who we are without looking around at what is going on we don't see the negative changes until they are too late we drift into being content with “ok ness” we drift on in life without the desire to welcome the other or see the other as they are we become too familiar we accept things that are not life giving we accept much less than anything we dreamed we could be And whilst that is what can happen in any marriage it can happen to the Church the body of Christ when we refuse to welcome the transforming Spirit of Jesus when we are content with what we know because its familiar we become less… We become those who want to hang on to things we are familiar with we become afraid to welcome we project our fear onto others and we refuse to see what God is doing among us we can become unwelcoming we refuse to own our part in what is not right and cling on to what we want.. rather than look around to see what is different where we are being called to change.. look out from what is familiar When we see each other clearly when we take the time to see who we live among and with we see changes that perhaps we had not taken the time to see And whilst this is true for many of our marriages it is also true for many us in our relationship with Jesus we welcomed him into our lives when we first met or we thought we had welcomed him but then we became comfortable and often forgot to take the time to see where he is taking us So today lets welcome our Lord afresh lets welcome him as children lets welcome each other.. Lets welcome all people as we are welcomed… As the Browns welcomed Paddington At the end of one of the books Mr Brown is putting someone right about Paddington it doesn't matter that he comes from the other side of the world it doesn't matter that he is a different species or that he has a worrying marmalade habit.. it matters that we welcomed him and we need him as much as he needs us.. And I think this is the same for us when we welcome God when we welcome those who teach and preach when we don't collude with the fears and the projections we welcome the transformation of God among and within us When we offer our selves one to the other when we take the time to see again and again who the other is what the other is showing us when we look for the righteousness in the other when we put aside fear and self-interest when we offer a drink to refresh when we offer through welcoming hospitality when we share the transformative living water of Christ within us and continue to be changed ourselves by that.. When we offer welcome we will have our reward a reward which is in the present and in the yet to come the reward of knowing we are with our Lord living in his welcoming transformative presence now… and when we finally meet Him face to face… Amen .