1 Peter 4:7-11 (NRSV)Be hospitable to one another
The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
Today I've been giving a lot of thought to the concept of radical hospitality. I was first introduced to the book and concept when I was in seminary.
Later, I had the opportunity to actually get to know many Benedictine nuns in my community who daily live out the idea of "welcoming all as Christ," which is radical hospitality at its best!
After reading today's scripture, I am struck by the words, "be hospitable to one another without complaining." Later, we hear, "serve and speak" to the glory of God!
It occurs to me that many in our churches need to get a-hold of these important concepts! It is a sad day when a non-Christian, or non-member shows up and is ignored and/or treated with contempt.
If we all made up our minds that every person who came through the door would be welcomed as if they were Jesus, how different our ministries would be!
Whether the person was African, European, American, Australian, or Asian, they would be welcome! Whether the person was rich, poor, employed, unemployed, homeless, housed, sane or insane, they would be welcome! Whether the person was young, old, abled, or differently abled, blind, deaf, or mute, they would be welcome!
Ah! This was the way our Lord and Savior, Jesus welcomed everyone--without respect of persons. All were equally welcome...
In his day, Jesus reached out to those who were unwelcome by society--women, children, lepers, Samaritans, sick, and disabled folks who just needed the touch of unconditional love and amazing grace!
As followers of Jesus, our mandate is simple. We must follow JESUS! If it was good enough for him, it's good enough for us!
I can't wait for that great day when all of our churches are an accurate reflection of ALL of the members of our communities! May each of us take up the work of Jesus Christ, welcoming all as Christ, in our churches, homes, and communities--today and everyday!
Let us pray: Oh God! Give me a heart to love everybody and to treat all of your children with kindness and respect. Please give me the spirit of radical hospitality so that everyone whom I meet will experience your love through me. I pray this in Jesus' Name, Amen...
I highly recommend the book "Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way of Love." You may purchase it on Amazon by clicking the link below! Enjoy; It changed my life!