Hospitality

Sermon Summary for Sunday, June 18th, 2017 | Respectfully Submitted by Brenda Worley

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As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Matthew 10:7

We were blessed to have Father Don Black with us again this Sunday as our celebrant.  The theme for the day was “hospitality.”      

The first example of hospitality was from the Old Testament reading from Genesis.  It was the story of the angels appearing to Abraham and Sarah with the promise of a son to be born.  These angels appeared as ordinary men--strangers, yet Abraham and Sarah welcomed them as honored guests and prepared and ate a wonderful meal with them.

In the gospel reading from Matthew, Jesus sends the disciples out as strangers and gives them detailed instructions of what to do as they journey.  They were to stay and perform their miracles only in the places where they were welcomed.  The disciples are charged to go only to those who are worthy.  Worthy equals hospitable which is defined as exhibiting the quality of receiving others as honored guests and providing for their care and comfort just as Abraham and Sarah did.

Father Black referenced other scriptural examples in which we are cautioned to be hospitable.  His favorite was from Hebrews 13:2, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”  Another was from Leviticus 19:34, “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”  If we welcome others, we welcome Jesus, and thereby, welcome God.

There were also present-day examples of hospitality shared by Father Black.  The most powerful was a story from his former church.  This congregation assisted with a community wide effort to provide lunch for the homeless and needy.  They also served a full breakfast for themselves each Sunday.  Somehow the guests from the lunches got word of the breakfasts and showed up early one Sunday and ate most of the food that had been prepared for the congregation.  The group preparing breakfast and the priest decided to follow the Word and be hospitable.  In the future, they prepared more food and invited the homeless and needy in each Sunday to share breakfast with them.

The result of this hospitality is to be in relationships.  We are to live in relationship and strive to bring others into that relationship.  We are to build relationships with others.  Not just the ones who look like us, dress like us, and think like us.  As we have been reminded many times and am sure we will be reminded in the future by Mother Mary when she returns from sabbatical which is focused on baptism, “We are not baptized into a group of like-minded people, but into the family of God.”  This family includes us all!