Note: For the next five weeks, our whole congregation is going to be reading and praying about Five Practices for Fruitful Congregations. I encourage you to follow the link and participate with us. Our worship will focus on one practice each week. Then, on May 31, we will celebrate them all, as well as Pentecost (the birthday of the church!) and our congregation's 140th anniversary. This should be a rich time, as we look at what makes church "church," as we look at our past, and as we prepare ourselves for bearing good fruit into the future.
This week, we have two texts. One from Deuteronomy and one from the gospel of Luke, each with a lesson about what it means to offer hospitality.
In Deuteronomy, as God delivers the law that will be at the core of the relationship between people and God, we hear words that echo through scripture: that we should love God with our heart and soul. And, then, that we should care for the widows and orphans in our midst. And for the strangers, because we were once strangers in Egypt.
How wild that here, at the very heart of God's commandment, is the expectation that we offer hospitality and care. And that we acknowledge our own need for hospitality, too.
That we should welcome the "stranger" has pretty powerful implications in our own time. Other translations use terms like "alien" or "foreigner." Without regard to citizenship status.
I wonder who we're most called to offer hospitality to, today? Who ought we be welcoming, and how will we find ways of offering that hospitality?