Sunday, June 26, 2011
Jesus said, "Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple-- truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward." Matthew 10:40-42
We have been in Honolulu since Thursday night. Two bedraggled travelers were welcomed with leis, hugs and kisses. And the welcome hasn't stopped. People I know hug and kiss us, people I barely know likewise and those who are just meeting us hug and kiss us also. There are genuine smiles across their faces. Our welcome, as part of the Hawaiian understanding of aloha, has been tender, profound and deep. There is a sense of being drawn in to a familial setting, a place and a people who strive to live hospitality.
Jesus was teaching his disciples, and teaches us today, that the holiest and finest thing we can do is make people welcome, truly welcomed. Not just invited in, but fed, and not just fed but listened to. Folks who are like us are easy to welcome. Folks who are different, those who scare us, those who we rarely see - these are who we are to welcome and feed, making them a part of our lives.
Today I want to learn more from our hosts about their hospitality - the culture, the church, the people. And I want to grow with them as we stretch ourselves as we are taught by Christ to welcome the least and the most foreign among us. May we all offer true welcome and hospitality this day, in the name of Christ and for the sake of the world.