Year A Proper 8: Whoever welcomes you

Whoever welcomes you welcomes me; whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me (Matthew 10:40).

When my parents took me home, they invited into their family a whole other set of DNA, a whole other history, a whole other family. I am not sure they saw it that way.

When I met my birth mother, it was not as the baby that she had known, but as a mother myself; I brought her grandchildren, with more on the way; a whole other family.

The first time that my parents and my mother met, they brought her a photo album, with pictures from the first time they met me, five weeks or so after she last saw me, up to my wedding, a few years before we were reunited – it was very sweet, and vaguely threatening, although meant innocently.

None of us arrives alone. Our ghosts and our guides shadow us and blur the shades that our own bodies cast; they tremble at the edges, undefined.

I once was called upon to claim the body of a woman I barely knew. Her family left her to me; but they came to her funeral. They came, they said, to honour her mother. Whoever welcomes me welcomes the one beyond me, behind me, before me.

We all come with cases full of bodies trailing behind us, carried on our shoulders, some pushed ahead of us like a supermarket grocery cart, all angles and sharp edges, crashing into those who meet us without warning around a blind corner.

None of us arrives alone.

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