A Struggle With Hospitality

To welcome the stranger and to offer hospitality in the name of Christ is something that is very important to me.  I am discovering though that I am finding that I struggle with this concept.  If I truly believe in welcoming all as Christ, then that should mean all, regardless of what they say or do.   But, there are days when I have a great deal of difficulty in welcoming people who refuse to welcome others and even speak against others.  I don’t do well with angry people who take their feelings and their biases out on others.  However, then I become one who does the same thing.  I am not really sure what to do because I tend to get angry and that gets in the way of being  welcoming.  Dilemma.

So, here is what I am thinking.  I stand firm in welcoming all people….including those filled with anger and hatred.  I pray about my attitude.  I pray that I will receive each person as Christ.   I demonstrate authentic kindness and welcome ,but I do not permit them to hurt others…..with words or actions.  I pray for the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

The Scripture readings for The Sixth Sunday of Easter (Revised Common Lectionary) offer some interesting points about hospitality.  In the Acts 16: 9-15, Lydia, after being baptized, insists that Paul and the others stay at her house.  Lydia, in responding to the Gospel,  provides for the needs of the sisters and brothers in the faith and welcomes them to her home.

Our pastor today preached on the Revelation text.  (He did a nice job, I might add!)  He discussed what heaven would be like.  He spoke of light and love.  He reminded us that we pray, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Then I noticed in the reading that, “Its (Heavenly Jerusalem) gates will never be shut by day and there will be no night there.”  The city gates……..never shut.  The city is open to receive.  The city does not shut its doors.   May God’s Kingdom be realized on this earth where we welcome all as Christ.  May the gates never be closed.

I sometimes have a desire to close my gates to those who are angry and bigoted.  God, may my gates stay open.

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