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Hospitality - Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7

In the narrative lectionary reading for this upcoming Sunday I was struck by the value of hospitality.  Abraham is an old man resting in the shade when he notices three travelers.  In my mind I see them as young, strong men.  In our culture we would never expect the old man to rise for these three travelers, let alone serve them, but in their world they never knew when a traveler may be God visiting. 

Abraham gets up and rushes into action.  He greets the men with a low bow of respect and asks for the privilege to serve them a meal.  He has his wife prepare some fine bread while he selects a good cut of meat for a celebration feast.  We know from Matthew 25 that when we treat others well, God receives it as if we are doing it for him, yet we rarely act that way.

I remember what a stretch is was for a group I was leading when I asked them to look into the eyes of the people checking them out at the gas station.  I encouraged them to see their humanity and say hello, and ask how they were.  If they meant it, if they listened, they may be surprised by what could happen.  Indeed they were, people are starving for connection and when they realize you are really listening they crumble. What would happen if we took this to a new level? If we greeted strangers on the street with a feast?  Would it be a miracle
, or just a weird story they told their family when they got home? 

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