July 16

Genesis 18:6-10a

“Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.” vs. 8

The stories of Abraham that were retained in Israel’s family history were passed through many generations before they began to be written down and preserved. Our faith ancestors were particularly interested in showing the special connection that Abraham had with the Lord. This particular story recounts an appearance of the Lord at the oaks of Mamre near Hebron. Three men show up out of nowhere and Abraham lavishes attention on them by offering first class hospitality. It’s a fascinating story, one that implies that God can take on human form. In a way it’s almost a foreshadowing of what happened in Jesus. At first we’re tempted to discard such notions of divinity…they seem so very primitive. But if God is truly present in all aspects of creation why can’t God get personal with us by assuming human shape? Perhaps God does come to us in the guise of strangers with news that can transform our lives. If so, it’s not a bad idea to practice hospitality even when it seems inconvenient. It’s hard to get our heads around such a notion in this age of “stranger danger,” but Abraham and our other faith ancestors had no such difficulty. They didn’t want to miss a message from God…and neither should we!

Thought for the Day: When have I offered hospitality to strangers?

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