Scripture: Romans 15:1-13
Key verse: (7) Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Reflection: A roll of paper towels thrown across the family room because there were no napkins. That’s a favorite memory for me from a summer spent in northwestern Pennsylvania for a seminary internship. That summer I lived with two different families in the town where I was serving. The first family was an empty-nest couple. She was a home economics teacher and he was a house painter. They were kind, salt-of-the-earth people and they welcomed me into their home. Meals were carefully planned and grocery lists completed. Nights were spent in front of the TV. Just the three of us. Very quiet.
The second family was two parents, two teenage daughters, a loving golden retriever, and a barn full of horses. The house was chaotic and life was a little crazy. Guests and relatives from out-of-town came and slept on the pull-out sofa. Friends appeared for dinner. Games were played and the laughter was loud. At the end of the summer, this second family hosted a farewell party for me and the first couple came for dinner. The hostess had forgotten to buy paper napkins at the grocery store so when she realized there were no napkins she took the roll off of the dispenser and threw it like a football across the room. The quiet home economics teacher was appalled but soon laughed at the nonsense of it.
Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you. The roll of paper towels taught me that hospitality isn’t about having the perfectly decorated home or the gourmet menu or the matching paper plates and napkins. Hospitality is about welcoming one another with love and with care. Listening and laughing. Playing and being quiet. Making room for others to be themselves as children of God.
Practice hospitality today. Sit together for a meal and don’t look at your smart phone. Invite someone to play a game or to go on a walk. Make some room to welcome someone the way you know Christ has welcomed you.
Prayer: O Lord, you are the host who welcomes all to your table. Thank you for welcoming me. You are the guest who listens for my invitation. Open my heart to make room for you and for all your guests. In Christ’s holy name I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].