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Hospitality to the Stranger
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Sep 9, 2019

One of the most gracious hosts I've ever met is an older gentleman I met around 14 months ago. He and his wife recently moved to Houston and now live with their adult children. Every time I visit him, he greets me with a fresh cup of coffee and some sort of dessert. This one time I visited him in the hospital, and he had the attendant bring an extra lemon-lime Shasta so that he could be a good host...while in the hospital! This man clearly exudes hospitality.

Often times, when we think about hospitality, we think about welcoming people into our homes with a cup of hot coffee and a slice of warm banana bread. This is certainly an important part of hospitality. But as we see in our lectionary Epistle this week, hospitality is so much more than that.

Hebrews 13:1-3 says, Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.

Here we see that hospitality extends beyond the walls of our homes and our churches. Hospitality is a lifestyle. It includes remembering people who are suffering. It includes paying attention to people we meet as we are living our lives. As followers of Jesus, we are called to live out radical hospitality as we go to Starbucks, as we shop at Target, and as we try out the new fried chicken sandwich from Popeyes.

My prayer for me and all of you is that we would slow down long enough to pay attention to the movement of God in our midst. As we pay attention, I pray that we see people as God sees people. Who needs a word of encouragement? Who needs eye contact and a smile? Who needs a handshake? Who needs to be reminded that God is with them? Who needs a lemon-lime Shasta?

May we have the courage to embody radical hospitality to the strangers this week. Who knows, the person God sends you may actually have an encouraging word for YOU. Slow down. Pay attention. God is at work all around us. Let's go join God.

Sincerely,

Pastor Coby