Genesis 18:1-8; Hebrews 13:1-3
We’re listening to, thinking about, and singing along with Beatles’ tunes today, and for some of us, these songs and their messages say something about our own journeys. They connect with who we are and where we’ve been in life. But remember (those of you who are old enough) when the Beatles, with their funny hair and strange accents, and “different” sound, were strangers? Many people feared and distrusted their music and ideas and felt threatened by their presence. Elvis Presley tried to convince J. Edgar Hoover and Richard Nixon that the Beatles were threatening our American way of life. Strangers are, well, strange. They have different ideas, unfamiliar backgrounds, and seemingly odd points of view. Why did Abraham welcome three strangers so extravagantly? Why would Hebrews tell us to show hospitality to strangers? We are called to open our community life to those who we don’t already know. In fact, we are told to direct our community life toward these new relationships – including, especially, strangers, those being tortured, and prisoners. How often have Christian communities worked to isolate ourselves from these very people? How will our lives change when we take this command to radical hospitality seriously? Do people who seem like threatening outsiders have anything to teach us about living and loving faithfully? How will we trust God enough to open ourselves to learn from and walk with those whom we do not yet know?