"Hospitality To Strangers"
November 12, 2011
Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:1-2
As I've traveled across the country, I've had the opportunity to see many, different worship styles.
Those worship styles -- like beauty -- are often in the eyes of the beholder. Some are high church, while others are not so high. Some prefer to accompany all music with an organ, and other places wouldn't know a pipe organ if it bit them on the leg.
Of course, there are those customs that seem to be practiced in almost all congregations. One of the most popular is the exchange of greetings -- you know, where everybody stands in the pew while husbands greet their wives and children, and wives greet their husbands and children, and the children, well, they try not to look embarrassed because they're sitting near their parents.
I remember one church where the practice was just starting. Apparently, the pastor had made the announcement that on such and such a Sunday they would start greeting each other. After the announcements, as the congregation got up to leave, one man turned around and said a cheerful "Good morning!" to the lady behind him.
At first she was shocked by his boldness. Then, with great dignity, she replied: "I beg your pardon! That friendliness business doesn't start until next Sunday!"
Thankfully, most of God's people don't feel that way. Most show brotherly love and many show hospitality to strangers. In doing this they are following a pattern set by the Savior and one that was usually encouraged in the early church. If they hadn't been hospitable and loving, I doubt the church would have reached the size it has.
We, who are recipients of Jesus' love, forgiveness and salvation, appreciate and do our best to emulate His style of ministry.
"And what style is that?" you ask.
It's the style which loves the unlovable, reaches out to the untouchable, finds a spot for the unacceptable and, in every way imaginable, does to others as they wish to have done to them.
This is why this devotion is going to propose something radical. Next Sunday, when the pastor announces the greeting, get real dangerous; take a walk on the wild side; step into the aisle and say "hello" to someone whom you normally might pass over.
And if you're thinking I would never pass over anyone, let me ask this: when was the last time you said "hello" to a little child or someone who had some challenges?
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Jesus died and rose for me. In so doing, He reached out to all sinners and offered them forgiveness and salvation. Now may I, whenever and wherever possible, try to show to all around the change His gifts have made. In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries