Pentecost 2 ~ Hospitality

June 18 2017
Genesis 18:1-15 ~ Matthew 9:35-10:8


Abraham sees three strangers approaching his tent in the heat of the day.  He jumps up an invites them to sit a spell under the shade of the tree.  He offers them water to wash their dusty feet and bread to refresh them for their journey. He then instructs Sara to make the bread from choice flour, selects a tender calf from his heard for the main meal, along with curds and honey.

This is radical middle eastern hospitality at its best.

Jesus has compassion for the people for they are like sheep without a shepherd. He summons his disciples and sends them out to bring healing to the people as they proclaim the good news that the kingdom of heaven has come near. The disciples are told not to accept any money for what they do, for the ability to heal has been freely given to them by God in Jesus. However, the gospel continues that they are to take nothing with them – no extra clothing or money. They are to rely on the grace of God and the hospitality of the people for their food and shelter.

Hospitality is a central practice of the Judeo-Christian faith. 2 Hospitality is the friendly and generous treatment of guests, visitors, or strangers. Hospitality is one of the essential practices of vibrant churches in the 21st century. Hospitality is one of the many gifts of this community and it happens in big and little ways.

  • Parish House has been turned into a home for our Syrian family, that we pray will soon arrive. When we open our hearts as well as our churches and homes, we are practicing biblical hospitality.
  • We are delaying work on one end of the back porch because of a nest of birds.
  • When we pulled into the parking lot on Saturday morning, we saw a turtle laying her eggs in the gravel. You may have noticed the sign protecting the nest.

That’s hospitality.

Next Sunday, we will have guests at our later service as the first step in our efforts toward healing and reconciliation with our indigenous brothers and sisters. Some will not be familiar or comfortable with our customs and building.

Our task is to enter into this time with open hearts and minds and to try and make our guests feel welcome as they share their sacred teaching, smudging and songs. Then we move inside to listen to Audrey Lawrence, our indigenous speaker, and share in communion at our Lord’s table.  We will end out time together with strawberries, bannock and tea.

This is important part of our journey to healing and reconciliation for we are on unceded Algonquin territory. (Unceded means that this land is part of the traditional hunting / fishing grounds of the Algonquin people and it has not been part of any treaty negotiations.)

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, writes Paul, for by doing so some have entertained angels without knowing it.  He’s referring to the three strangers at Abraham’s tent.  But we also know that funny things can happen when we are hospitable – Sara laughed when she overheard the angels tell Abraham that she will conceive and bear a child in her old age.

There is often a very large gap between divine promise and human possibility – and we live in that gap.

Every moment of hospitality became pregnant with new possibility of what God can bring about if we are open and willing to let it happen.

This place has along history of helping give birth to new and life-giving ministries: SchoolBox, Vidas Mission, Hub Hospice, the Centre for Creative Living.

Who knows where this will lead? With God at work in us, anything is possible.

Pat Martin +