I find verse 2 of today’s reading from Hebrews in the KJV translation one of the most beautiful in scripture, we are encouraged to not neglect showing hospitality to strangers “...for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” How hospitable are we to the gifts that are ‘one another’? The people that come into our life?
One way of looking at the Parable of the Sower — that we began looking at on Sunday and are returning to a number of times in this month’s theme — is to think of it as a story about hospitality. The seeds fall and find hospitable or inhospitable ground.
Do we treat strangers like the seed that falls on the path in the Parable of the Sower? Are we as hard an unforgiving as that road? Throwing up a hard surface and not giving an inch… leaving strangers vulnerable to the pinched birds of our hostility?
Or do we let strangers fall on the rocky ground of our carelessness? Initially welcoming them but doing nothing to take care of them? Letting them take root but only ever offering shallow ground — letting the sun of our indifference scorch them?
Or do we trap strangers in our thorns and weeds, our pet-hates and prejudices, our manipulations and games — crowding them out and giving them no space?
Or do we put strangers in good ground, giving them space to breathe? To develop into who they are. More than we ever thought either of us could be…
Would-be angels are all around us,
caught on the currents of life
with us maybe for a season,
maybe much longer.
So, what will it be?
- Pointing them down the hard path out of here?
- Leaving them to the birds?
- Casting them on the rocks?
- Leaving them to the sun?
- Leading them into the long grass to get lost amongst the weeds?
- Leaving them in the barbs?
- Or planting them in good soil?
- With an eye for their potential?
Give us a clue
give us as many as we need.
Lead us to be good planters —
hospitable as we are able.
1 Let brotherly love continue.
2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.