We arrived at our airport in Newark, New Jersey at about 3:15, and were greeted by one heck of a rainstorm! It reminded me that Houston has seen simultaneously too much AND not enough rain recently. The city was beautiful during rush hour after the cleansing rain, and the drive to our accommodations took more than an hour. After we got settled in we decided to stay close to home and have dinner at the Tavern directly below our apartment. Over dinner, we reflected on the sermons at Christ the Servant these past two Sundays.
Just yesterday, Pastor Jim remarked that the story about Abraham and Sarah entertaining the three guests was about hospitality. So also was the short gospel reading about Mary and Martha. When Pastor Jim said that Last Week's "Merciful Samaritan" story and the story of Mary and Martha were twin stories, a light went on in my head.
The Abraham and Mary/Martha stories are about what it means to show radical hospitality to someone in your own home. The "Merciful Samaritan" is about what it would look like for us to show that same radical hospitality to strangers wherever we may encounter them.
But I hope we will take it further than that. I hope we will look for opportunities not just on our jobsites - but in the street, and in restaurants, and on the subway - to be a neighbor to someone who was a stranger a moment ago.
At dinner tonight, DJ Blockhus mentioned that in Bedouin societies - itinerant, desert-dwelling folks - that if you saw someone traveling across the desert, you were bound by duty to invite them into your tent, feed them, water their camels and show them hospitality. Even if it turned out to be your sworn enemy, you wouldn't ever turn them away in that moment. Because life is too hard, and we need each other.
I, too, have a sense that life can often be hard. It can feel like an endless desert we've been cursed to walk through.I hope that we will all look for opportunities to offer love, and grace and peace (and food!) - even to those who we would normally consider enemies.
Be strong and courageous. More tomorrow
JT, Abby, Marsha, DJ, Tina, Colleen, Randy, Susan, Jonathan and Elizabeth