Katie Snipes Lancaster
Scripture: Hebrews 13:2
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
Spiritual Practice: Hospitality
I have always loved this scripture passage about showing hospitality to strangers: it somehow connects me to every person I have ever met, places me in the presence of God every time I encounter anyone. To me, it means that every person on my path is part of the presence of God, every interaction is a chance for divine connection.
In the ancient near east, showing hospitality to strangers was a matter of life or death. There’s a story in the book of Genesis about Abraham and Sarah living in quite temporary housing on a journey far from home, and three strangers come to their home. Without hesitation, they feed these strangers. There are no grocery stores. There is no Uber Eats. Abraham and Sarah were their only path to survival in the rural desert land.
I wonder then, if hospitality is both about sustenance—life giving generosity—as well as an orientation to life that calls us to see that divine encounter is right there below the surface (or even right there on the surface). How might we find ourselves renewed by this practice of hospitality, looking both to a deeper transformational generosity (transformational for both giver and receiver), as well as a lifestyle that notices and knows that God is present in every human encounter (and us animal lovers and gardeners might extend that, of course, every encounter with the living beings of the earth).
God of life and death,
Place within us a new hospitality,
One in which we see
The deep web of connection to one another,
And your fingerprints on the surface of everyday life.