Wednesday, 4th September
MEDITATION AND THOUGHT
The American Heritage Dictionary (1979) defines stranger as “one who is neither friend nor acquaintance,” or as “a foreigner, newcomer, or outsider.” The stranger, then, is not only a person we have never met before, but also a person we know, but consider an outsider.
The word hospitality evokes in us an image of soft, sweet kindness, polite conversations, tea parties, warm appetizers with friends and family. But in the Bible the recipient of hospitality is a stranger, not a neighbour and not someone expected.
Hospitality in the ancient near east was no light matter. In the treacherous and hot desert climate of ancient Palestine the hospitality of others was a matter of life and death. To receive a stranger into your home and graciously transform that stranger into a guest was a strict social responsibility and an act of obedience to God. The example of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18:1-8 can teach us a lot about the importance of hospitality as a service to God and our humanity.
The church father St. John Chrysostom urged Christians to actively look for opportunities to help strangers or foreigners in need—not only for the benefit of the strangers, but even more for their own benefit. By seeking out strangers, Abraham entertained angels (Hebrews 13:2).
Hospitality is more than an action. It is a particular way of looking at the world. In the simplest form, hospitality is seeing the stranger through the eyes of Jesus. It is choosing to look for Jesus in the eyes of each stranger. It is loving the stranger.
The challenge to us here at CCB is to be intentional about inviting the stranger, just as Jesus invited us and welcomed us into his father’s kingdom (Ephesians 2:11-13).
I pray to God, that with Jesus’ help, my heart will always remain open to the stranger. Give us the grace Lord to treat those who are different from us – socially, culturally, economically, racially – as honoured guests. Help us to be ready to show hospitality and not hostility to those who are strangers to us.
PRAYER FOR WEDNESDAY
We pray that:
* The Lord help us not be fearful but rather kind and loving in our encounters with strangers
* We welcome everyone – especially those who are different from us – with open arms without judgment or condemnation and sharing the love of Christ.
* God’s grace enable us to welcome people of all races, genders and backgrounds with respect and dignity.
* We be ready to be hospitable to each other
* We have the grace and courage to overcome the many barriers (cultural, racial, social and economic) that separate us.
* Pray for Synod and Clergy conference taking place next week from the 3rd – 6th of September.
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