“Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” vss. 1-2
It’s a given that followers of Jesus are called to love one another…according to John, it was his final commandment. Early believers learned that this mutual love was one of the most impressive attributes of their faith communities…and it’s been that way ever since. Most of us have had powerful experiences of love in our congregations…and when it’s not present we’re terribly disappointed. But usually we do manage to create some sort of loving community…we’re good at hugs and hot dishes and sharing the peace at worship. Where we miss the boat is in the way we treat strangers. It happens regularly in too many congregations. When strangers show up at worship it’s almost like we don’t know what to do and our cliquish tendencies are laid bare for all to see. We huddle with our favored friends after the closing hymn while the strangers stand alone…we seem scared to death to take the first step and extend a hand of welcome. And it’s not only on Sundays! The current atmosphere of suspicion has stifled what should be a natural response to outsiders. In our places of work, our schools and neighborhoods, and our borders people of faith are called to extend hospitality to all…and not just those who look and act like ourselves. We never know when we’re going to meet an angel sent from God!
Thought for the Day: How do I welcome strangers?