S52P5 – Outside ourselves: welcoming one another

1 Pet. 4:7-11

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

It might have been where I eventually came to live, but it certainly did not feel like home at first.  The town and its people were strange to me. Even the slower, quieter way of life was very foreign.  Still, I trudged along with my work and tried to build a life there.  I would sit in my house and think about how much I missed home.  My new surroundings had yet to become that for me.  Eventually, I connected with a local church, and everything changed.  These brothers and sisters welcomed me with open arms.  Getting to know them was like getting to know long lost family that I had just found.  Their hospitality and willingness to recognize me as a member of the body of Christ, and accept me as such, turned this strange place into home.  I was no longer a stranger but someone who belonged there.

It is not uncommon for us to feel like we do not belong in this world. Our ideals and motivations differ greatly than those which are commonly held around us.  As we are citizens of heaven, we should feel like aliens in this world. [Phil. 3:20-21]  For us, home is not about a place. Christians find their home among God and the godly.  The idea of our showing hospitality to one another, to other members of the body of Christ, is centered around the idea of finding home.  Our job is to let our brothers and sisters know that they are welcome into the body and can be established there. [Eph. 2:19-22]  We share a common foundation, and there is no reason why any of us should feel like we are simply floundering around this world with no footing.  Christian hospitality is about making sure that our brothers and sisters feel that they belong and that they have a place within the body.

Although we will not feel at home in this world, that does not mean that we cannot feel at home at all.  That feeling is what we should have when we fellowship with our brothers and sisters in a community of believers.  Getting connected with the Church body should make us feel grounded and established.  Knowing that each one of us plays a vital role in the function of the Church, we should be quick to welcome our fellow brothers and sisters into our church communities.  We must let them know that they can be at home in the Church.  This hospitality is nothing more than a showing of our desire to live together as one. Father, make us people who welcome our brothers and sisters with open arms, letting them know that they have a place and a home within your Church.