Welcoming Strangers (Tuesday 16 May)

Morning Encounter:

Read:

Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. Love each other as brothers and sisters and honour others more than you do yourself. Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying. Take care of God’s needy people and welcome strangers into your home.

Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them. When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad. Be friendly with everyone. Don’t be proud and feel that you are smarter than others. Make friends with ordinary people.

(Romans 12: 9-16)                                                       

Reflect: 

In the early life of the church, there were particular reasons for an emphasis on hospitality. Shared meals were a way of forging community out of a disparate group from a variety of cultures, social strata and religious history. The spread of the gospel depended on travelling missionaries who relied on the kindness of strangers for bed and board. And churches initially met in homes, fostering a sense of family and belonging.

The context may be different, but the practice of hospitality is central to what it means to be a Christian. It is not an optional extra, and it is not the particular remit of the gifted. We are to “be sincere in our love for others,” (v.9) and we must “take care of God’s needy people and welcome strangers into our homes” (v.13).

Respond:

Have you thought about hospitality as a spiritual practice? How might you make room for it in your Christian life? What do you think would be the challenges and the blessings of doing so?

Midday Meditation:

Meditate on 1 Peter 4:9: “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (NIV)

Evening Reflection:

“Hospitality…is a concrete expression of love- love for sisters and brothers, love extended outwards to strangers, prisoners and exiles, love that attends to physical and social needs. Within acts of hospitality, needs are met, but hospitality is truncated if it does not go beyond physical needs. Part of hospitality includes recognising and valuing the stranger or guest.”

(Christine D. Pohl, Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition)

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