Thursday, January 7, 2016
Tuesday’s reading included Genesis 18. It covers very well the arrival of angels – which may be why in Hebrews we’re told:
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2)
After the greeting, Abraham went to great lengths to make his guests feel welcome:
Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. (Genesis 18:4-8)
It took several people to complete the preparations for these guests. It made me think about how we welcome people into our homes, and how we welcome them into our church.
I truly believe our church does welcome visitors. I like meeting them and welcoming – though I don’t see to it they have cakes upon the hearth. I know several people who have joined our church because they do find it friendly and welcoming.
I don’t believe it’s simply because we’re kind and hospitable but because we are interested in their souls. It’s part of being a follower of the man who was hospitable to children:
And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. (Luke 18:15-16)
He welcomed crowds, and looked after individuals. He asked His Father to look after those who followed Him:
For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. (John 17:8-9)
In Genesis 18:5, Abraham offers a morsel of bread. What we offer our visitors is an opportunity to hear and learn about the bread of life:
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:33-35)
That is the best thing I can offer in my own home, and totally appropriate in God’s house. Come in, any time.