Thought For The Week 28 June 2020
Have you ever experienced the welcome of a stranger? We routinely experience welcome in our lives; when we enter a shop, restaurant, club and so on. Most churches (ours included) pride themselves on being friendly and welcoming to strangers and even have people assigned the task of ensuring people feel welcome. You may well have experienced a ‘frosty’ welcome which left you cold and reluctant to return.
Today our building block word is ‘welcome’. Jesus sent his disciples out on a mission trip to the villages he was to pass through on his way to Jerusalem, and he instructed them to receive the hospitality offered them and to stay with folk for as long as they would allow. They were to heal the sick and tell them about the kingdom of God. What strikes me about this is just how risky it was. They could have been rejected, rebuked or rebuffed for their message or for their audacity (they were inviting themselves to stay). And they were very reliant on their hosts who were offering the hospitality.
Welcome can be transformative. When we are welcoming, we open ourselves up to be changed by those we host. When we receive the hospitality, we place ourselves in the care of others and drop our defences, trusting ourselves to them. This also has the power to change us.
During our recent isolation we discovered new ways to connect with each other. May we continue to be people who both offer and receive hospitality, demonstrating the great hospitality God offers us in Christ, who welcomes all.