Reading: Genesis 18: 1-15
Verses Four and Five: Let a little water be brought… let me get you something to eat.
Abraham and Sarah receive three men and they extend gracious welcome to them. They recognize them as strangers. Abraham first requests that these three men stay for a while. To help them in their decision, he offers, “Let a little water be brought… let me get you something to eat”. In showing good hospitality, Abraham offers them a way to clean off the dust of their journey and a way to refresh themselves. They prepare bread and meat for their guests, sharing abundantly with these three guests. It is an illustration of generous hospitality. The men stay and in the end bless Abraham and Sarah with the promise of a child, even though they are very old.
Often we too have the opportunity to offer welcome to the stranger. On any given Sunday morning they are in our churches. On any given afternoon we may cross paths with them on the street. In these encounters at the personal level, do we quickly extend radical and generous hospitality? Or do we quickly pass them by, instead focusing on our own needs and concerns?
On the national level, the larger struggle with offering radical and generous hospitality swirls around immigrants and refugees. Most are seeking freedom or a better future, yet many do not receive a warm welcome. We turn to fear and worse to deny welcome and to keep up a wall between us. It is a struggle our nation has always had. Being a place of freedom and the “land of opportunity” has brought millions to our country. As Christians living here, what should our response be?
Of course, Jesus called us to love neighbor as self. He illustrated the results of loving or not loving neighbor in the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25. He lived the commandment to love others out with all He met so we would have plenty of examples to follow. The blessing of Isaac was a great blessing to Abraham and Sarah. For you and I, the stranger also offers great blessings. It is only when we take the opportunity to engage the other and to offer our love through radical and generous hospitality that we experience the blessings. This day may we live as He first loved us.