Hospitality of Love

“Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.  For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.  Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”  Psalm 30:4-5

As I begin my day with my daily readings from Treasury of Daily Prayer, these words from this beautiful psalm particularly catch my attention in light of our Easter celebration just six days ago.  How good is our heavenly Father to turn our Good Friday mourning into Easter joy with Christ’s resurrection!

Then I am struck with the amazing hint of Easter God gave to Moses and the Israelites in Exodus 19.

“…you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation….  Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments and be ready for the third day…. Be ready for the third day….”  Exodus 19:5-6, 10-11, 15.

Be ready for the third day!  Yes, Lord Jesus, help us as your people to always be ready for the third day!  Might this be one of the scriptures Jesus used as he opened the minds of the two men on the road to Emmaus, or when he opened his disciples’ minds to understand how all of scripture had pointed to him?  Christ has washed our garments and made us ready.  Alleluia!

In light of this grace that has been lavishly poured upon us, how do we respond?  Dear Jesus, what might I do to love you in response to your gift of love to me?

“Let brotherly love continue.  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

“So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.  therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.  For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.  Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.  Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”  Hebrews 13:1-3, 12-16

Hospitality to strangers.  Visiting those who are in prison and mistreated.  Going to Jesus outside the camp.  Doing good and sharing what I have.  This sounds an awful lot like Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:34-40.  When I read these words from Hebrews 13 this morning, I knew I had to write to my brothers and sisters and ask what these words speak to you.  What has been your experience of offering hospitality to strangers, or visiting those in prison or being mistreated, or sharing what you have?  How have you seen God work through these sacrifices in your own life?  I would love to hear your stories!

God has made us a kingdom, his treasured possession.  What a place of love and security from which to love his world in Christ’s name.

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen.”  Hebrews 13:20-21

 

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