Yesterday after worship, I met Wayne, a visitor from Rochester, New York. He was here in Minnesota on a business trip and decided to worship at Resurrection. We had a pleasant conversation around visiting churches. After our conversation, I observed others conversing with him. Hospitality was being practiced.
Wayne’s visit reminded me of my first week at my old church. My first Sunday morning was a bit overwhelming. Like Resurrection, it was a growing congregation and being the new staff person, every face and name was new to me. A primary part of my job was to follow-up with visitors via letter and phone calls. On Monday morning, as I looked through the small stack of visitor cards, one card stood out: a visitor from Wibaux, Montana.
Wibaux is a tiny town on the eastern edge of Montana. Wibaux has no distinction, other than it was where my father grew up in the 1920’s and 1930’s. My grandfather had been the county doctor. Though the area has hit hard times in recent years, my father always spoke with great fondness for this high-plains town.
When I saw the Wibaux welcome card, I wrote a special letter of welcome with a note asking if the visitor knew of my grandfather or father. She wrote me back a short note, saying that yes, she had known my grandfather. In fact, he had assisted in the delivery of her children years ago. She also wrote how she appreciated the visit to the church and the hospitality. Her kind letter gave me some much-needed affirmation during a stressful transition.
In Genesis 18, Abraham is sitting by his tent when he spots three visitors approaching. He immediately offers hospitality to the visitors, providing a special meal for them. Soon he discovers that his guests are angelic visitors from God, who bring the promise of a son for Abraham and Sarah. Hospitality has always been a hallmark of God’s people that brings blessings to both the giver and recipient.
How have you practiced hospitality recently? When have you received hospitality from others?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may I practice mercy and kindness towards the stranger in your name.