People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.Maya Angelou
The Emmaus Road story we read this past Sunday is as much about hospitality, if not more, than any other theme found in Luke 24.
The New Testament writers routinely implored the practice of hospitality. Paul in his letter to the Romans states, “practice hospitality.” In Hebrews we read, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” In 1 Peter the author goes even further, “Practice hospitality without complaining.” In 1 Timothy and Titus it says that leaders of the church must be people who are “lovers of hospitality.” The entire letter of 3 John is focused around a “thank you” for a church’s hospitality. All of these instances, not to mention the numerous stories of hospitality in the Old Testament, give clear direction for church to practice hospitality. And of course, we have in Matthew 25 where Jesus himself said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Hospitality and love for one another is at the heart for the Bible; it is after all entwined within the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:29). Hospitality is a deep and well-developed biblical concept and there is extraordinary continuity between the Easter story of the Emmaus Road and many other stories of throughout the scriptures.
Hospitality and love of one another allows us to participate in God’s love of all. Hospitality gives hope. That is one of the most beautiful aspects of Riverside, her hospitality for all of God’s children. We may have difficulty recognizing the Risen Jesus during these troublesome days, but I encourage you to continue to practice hospitality and love for one another. May our love for one another be part of our hope and celebration of the risen Jesus.