Edevotional May 1
29But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. Luke 24:29
t’s a rainy May Day. I’m still contemplating inviting Jesus into my home. Opening my heart to the stranger, the unrecognizable. Listening, paying attention, being astonished, and telling about it–instructions for living a life. (Mary Oliver, from the poem Sometimes) There will always be the “strange ones” among us, just as Jesus says, “The poor you will always have with you.” No matter how hard we try and put them at a distance; try and live a separate life; keep them away from disrupting our comfort; the prophets will still come, the stranger out on the margins. It is a question of whether we will let them in; whether we will trust that God is at work through this “interruption.”
Maybe we wonder if it is a waste of time, money, or effort to listen to this stranger in our path. I’m glad the disciples walking to their hometown of Emmaus that first Easter evening, were steeped enough in the ways of hospitality to invite the stranger in, to share a meal. The practice of hospitality was much different for the Emmaus walkers.
Today we think of hospitality as the custom of feeding family, friends, and neighbors in our homes or hosting these people for a night or two. The writers of the New Testament, however, were working with a significantly different definition of hospitality or xenia. The ancient custom of hospitality revolved around the practice of welcoming strangers or travelers into one’s home while promising to provide them with provisions and protection.
Hospitality in the first century could be a very risky venture, just as taking strangers into one’s home is a dangerous decision in many corners of the world today. Yet, throughout our Scriptures we hear an appeal for Jesus’ disciples to practice hospitality in their lives and ministries. I pray that I will have my heart open to receive the Christ in whatever forms they come today. This wet May Day. God bless you. Pastor Sherrie Lowly
Artist:Velázquez (Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez)
(Spanish, Seville 1599–1660 Madrid)