Tagged: hospitality

Matthew 10:40-42

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on June 25, 2017.

This passage comes at the end of a long conversation between Jesus and his disciples, where Jesus assures them, and presumably every Christian that comes after them, of his unending presence and blessing despite the many challenges that will certainly come along. Coming at the end of that conversation these four verses can feel anticlimactic, even a little confusing. But there is an interesting logic for those with the energy to work through it. This logic reveals to us something about what it means for God to be with Christians, what blessing looks like amidst those certain challenges.

Much of the passage revolves around the notion of reception, of Jesus, prophets, disciples, and so on. A proper translation will emphasize what is being received and why it is being received, “whoever welcomes a prophet because she or he is a prophet” and “whomever welcomes a righteous person because she or he is a righteous person” such that what is being received, and hence what is being credited to the one who receives, is prophesy and righteousness. Jesus has in mind here those able to receive prophesy/righteousness because they can both identify genuine prophesy/righteousness and have room in their lives for its goods. According to this logic, Jesus seems to be saying that those are the kind of people who can make room for God in their lives. And those able to receive Jesus will also be able to receive the disciples who advance Jesus’ cause of prophesy and righteousness: “whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple…” What Jesus praises is precisely the quality of identifying and receiving prophesy, righteousness, discipleship which betokens the ability to identify and receive Jesus and his disciples. In this way, v. 41-42 simply follows the logic set forth in v. 40: “Whoever welcomes you, welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me” (NRSV).

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Luke 17:5-10

This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on October 2nd, 2016.

gratitudeI got married a little over a year ago and I have been doing the dishes, laundry, making the bed, and taking the dog out just as long.  My reasoning behind choosing to be in charge of these tasks in our house was, “I am going to do these things to make my wife’s life easier.  I am going to work hard for her and show her that I am the type of man who will serve his wife continuously.”  However, I would be lying if on the inside I didn’t somewhat expect my wife to put together a video compilation of my Top 10 Plays of My Husband – “There’s Dan cleaning the dishes he ate off of the night before!  There’s Dan washing his clothes along with his wife’s because he’s out of socks!  There’s Dan making the bed he slept in!  There’s Dan walking the dog that he wanted to get in the first place!”

My initial reasoning behind doing these tasks was to serve my wife, but over time I started to expect some sort of praise.  Over time, doing these tasks again and again became mundane, and without consistent gratitude it became easier and easier to neglect these duties.

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Luke 11:1-13

This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on July 24, 2016.

Hermano Leon
Hermano Leon

“I need you to pray for me.” “How can I pray for you?” “Can you add my friend to your prayer list?” “I don’t know what to pray.” These and other statements on prayer can be heard at any church on any given Sunday. Obviously people believe prayer is important, but why then is praying such a struggle for people? Many of us are, or at least we know people who are, Prayer Warriors. Why do their prayers seem so natural and powerful? Is it a learned skill? Is it a sign of spiritual maturity? Can anyone learn to pray like Jesus? After observing Jesus praying one day, his own followers asked him to teach them to pray. Jesus answered his disciples in Luke 11:2-4, with what we refer to as the Lord’s Prayer, or the model prayer. Jesus covered a lot of ground in this prayer, from honoring the Father, to asking for God’s forgiveness. Jesus never intended this prayer to be the only way we pray, or that these words should be recited at every prayer. More importantly than the form, he called attention to the importance of praying regularly. He stated, “When you pray,” not if you pray; He had an expectation that his followers would pray. Jesus set the example by being a man of prayer, and by giving instructions on how to pray.

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Acts 10:34-43

This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on March 27, 2016.

St. Peter in the House of Cornelius - G. Dore
St. Peter in the House of Cornelius – G. Dore

Most preachers will choose one of the gospel passages for this Sunday, but if you are looking for a slightly different spin on the usual Easter texts, Acts 10 is a good way to go.  This passage occurs within the larger context of Cornelius’ conversion story which serves as the climax of the first half of Acts.  Throughout Acts, the gospel has been gradually moving forth unhindered from Jerusalem, into Samaria, and now into Joppa.  Along the way, Samaritans and an Ethiopian have believed the good news.  And if that wasn’t enough to stir things up, Luke now presents a Roman solider! It is no wonder the circumcised believers at Cornelius’ conversion with Peter were just a bit overwhelmed. “Is there anyone this God won’t save?”  This is the question that had to be racing through their hearts and minds.

Just moments before, Peter had that transforming vision on the rooftop. The sheet was lowered, and he was instructed to eat the animals in it, many of which were unclean.  Three times Peter hears the voice, along with the command, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane” (vs. 15).  The ambiguous vision  becomes clear in verse 34 when Peter finally gets it!  God shows no partiality.  The vision was not simply about unclean food but about “unclean people,” and who is fit to sit at God’s table… and at our table. In this moment of revelation, the invitation to convert shifts from Cornelius to Peter, and then to the reader. Are we willing to let the gospel of Jesus Christ engage and overturn some of our long held preferences and beliefs?  Are we especially willing to be converted in our understanding of who we view as “worthy” recipients of the gospel?  Even more, are we willing to be challenged with a new vision of who we invite to sit at our table?

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