Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In verse 40 of Matthew’s 10th chapter, Jesus cites a well-known rabbinic principle of the first century—“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me.” This teaching dictated that the representative of a person is like herself. By adding, “and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me ,” Jesus’ promise to the disciples extends the representative relationship back yet another degree. Just as Jesus is sending out the disciples on this mission, so Jesus was also sent on a mission directed by God. Thus, Jesus’ disciples don’t only represent their master’s presence everywhere they go. They also represent the Heavenly Parent who sent Jesus. With this declaration, the disciple’s sense of the awesomeness of their assignment and the power that accompanied them was affirmed.
Some acts of hospitality are small but lead to great relational possibility. Hospitality is offered through sometimes small and seemingly unspectacular ways. Opening a door to a stranger on a street breaks down a barrier of protection and offers the possibility of love in a world of walls and loneliness. A smile requires eye contact. A piece of bread breaks down hunger and offers new life. A cup of cold water to a thirsty soul is as refreshing to the giver as to the throat of the recipient.
Hospitality requires risk and vulnerability, courage and sacrifice. If we are going to reach across racial divides to bring healing and change it will require a deeper sense of hospitality than we have ever seen before. Two key questions will be:
“What are we willing to give up?”
“How uncomfortable are we willing to be?”
Let us pray for the heart of Christ’s hospitable ways when we answer such questions. For in the gospel logic of God’s kingdom, these are marks that form us into the body of Christ.
See Matthew 10:38-42 for further reflection.
Prayers: For racial harmony.
Still in one peace,
Pastor David J. Jensen