40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.” [Matthew 10:40-42]
In this story often used to preach about being sent into the world, as I did on June 18th, Jesus turns the table and talks about hospitality. Look at number of times Jesus mentions welcoming, on being hospitable to those who may very well be strangers. Throughout the bible we read about stories of hospitality. In Genesis, we hear of Abraham sitting by his tent on a hot day. Three strangers happen to walk by, and Abraham offers them water, rest, and food. In Leviticus we read, “The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD.” What’s interesting about Abraham and Sarah is that they were not even settled in their home as they were on the move, too. Even so, they offer hospitality. And how much more can those of us who are settled offer hospitality! Whether we are traveling on vacation or moving our residence or settled for years in one place hospitality is essential to our faith. God is a God of welcome. Let’s us be ambassadors of God’s hospitable welcome to others.
Welcoming God, it is so much easier to just cater to my needs. It is not easy to be open to the needs around me. I often shutter my windows and lock my doors in fear of strangers. Yet, you call me to be a hospitable presence in our hurting world. By your wisdom, give me the courage to be hospitable to strangers. Amen.