Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13)
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:7-9)
Today, while the world gathered in Paris, the people of God gathered in places as diverse as ornate sanctuaries and public school gymnasiums for the activity of divine worship. Our community is in the midst of a series, “The Five Ways of Being the People of God” and today we explored the biblical mandate to practice hospitality. The Greek word the New Testament uses for hospitality is philoxenia which translated literally means “the love of strangers” (philo: love + xenia: stranger). While many may be not familiar with this Greek term, there is another word with a common etymology that you may be familiar: xenophobia, which means an “intense fear or hatred of strangers” (xeno: stranger + phobia: fear).
Xenophobia or Philoxenia? Which of these reflects the attitude and action of the people of God?
Too often, I confess, I am motivated by fear. People who look different, think different, and believe different threaten me. More often then not, these fears are unfounded. And I wonder if the people that I fear, feel the same way toward me?
In light of the terror in Paris, in light of the racism in our own country, I am wrestling with this question: “how do we move from a fear of the stranger, the different, the other to love? How can we as the people of God set the pace, pursue hospitality and create space in our lives for the stranger?
Here is our complete worship flow:
- Salvation Is Here (Hillsong)
- The Way (Worship Central)
- Unpack Your Heart (Philip Philips)
- A Time of Prayer and Confession
- Broken Vessels (Hillsong)
- How He Loves (John Mark McMillan)
- Infant Dedication
- Announcements and Offering
- Message (Be Hospitable)
You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.