Hospitality to Strangers

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

Psalm 31 (Morning)
Psalm 35 (Evening)
Ezra 3:1-13
1 Cor 16:10-24
Matt. 12:22-32

Hospitality to Strangers

This past Saturday, I made one of my impromptu treks to Tontitown to explore their flea markets. Passing by the pop machine, a woman fumbled through her purse to find 30 more cents to purchase a drink. Hearing her husband had only a nickel, I offered a quarter. At first she declined but then accepted it with a kind “thank you.” Soon after, I heard her ask her husband for 5 cents more; she had miscounted. I offered a nickel. She was grateful. Her husband offered me a dollar in return – “Oh, no thank you, so glad to help,” I responded with a smile.

In 1 Corinthians 16:10, Paul asks the Corinthians to be hospitable to Timothy when he passes by. To welcome him, to do so without invoking fear. Later in this passage, Paul remarks as well – “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.”

Offering a few cents for a pop seems a bit over the top for what Paul asks, but is it? The woman was a stranger; I was grateful to help. When we see someone downcast, a smile can do wonders. When we feed the homeless twice a week, we satisfy hunger. When we raise monies for those suffering in Puerto Rico, Houston and Florida, people overcome thirst, cold, displacement. When we build a house for women caught up in addiction and human trafficking, we offer God’s love and an opportunity for renewed life.

God doesn’t fuss about the size of our hospitality, the greatness of it, the smallness of it. What God does ask is that we welcome one another, love one another, serve one another, with courage and strength. As you walk through this and every day, be mindful, watchful, and do everything in love.

Written by Linda C. Jones

Linda has been an active member of St. Paul’s since 2000. Currently she serves as Associate Verger, Chorister, Lay Reader, and Spatula gal. A renaissance woman in many ways, she loves her cats, Rudy and Cuthbert, tennis, learning the banjo, playing the bagpipes, being in the great outdoors. In her spare time, she is an Associate Professor of World Languages at the UA.

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