Hebrews 13:1-3 (NRSV)

1 Let mutual love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.

Matthew 25:35 (NRSV)

35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,   

DEVOTION – Hugh Lake (Georgia)

My wife and I greeters at Sunday worship and specifically took for those who are visitors.  Remembering what Jesus said about welcoming strangers, we greet each visitor as we would welcome Christ.  Many in our congregation make a special effort to offer hospitality to visitors.  A man who visited our church several years ago and is now a member said to me:  “That first visit I had a knot of fear in my gut as I entered the front door.  I kept asking myself, ‘Will they accept me?”  He had not attended worship for many years, having left with the bitter taste of rejection because of his sexual orientation.  He went on to say, “That first Sunday was amazing.  A number of people warmly greeted me with Christian love.  As I left church, I felt an inner peace – as if I had come home after a long absence.”

Sometimes we who have been part of a local church for years forget how scary it can be to walk in as a stranger.  We may also forget the importance God places on hospitality.  Even so, it is relatively easy to greet strangers at church.  The more difficult challenge is to be open and loving to people we encounter every day.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Welcoming strangers in our midst opens the door to entertaining Jesus.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, help us to see everyone through your eyes of love and then to put our love into action.  Amen.