While we are familiar with soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and prison ministries, we patently neglect the deed of welcoming the stranger. We have a biblical mandate to address the needs of those we do not know and call them our neighbor. Yet, today as in biblical times, welcoming strangers is not an easy or desirable task.
We live in times of economic upswings and downturns. Our neighbors are affected by unemployment, poverty, homelessness, divorce and domestic violence. Strangers may come to our congregations seeking care and hospitality. Many will be women and children.
How inviting are we to the stranger who may look and act differently from us? Do strangers have to prove their worthiness to receive our hospitality? How open are we to “entertaining angels unaware?”
“Welcoming the Stranger,” a free resource from Women of the ELCA, is designed to help the church family open its heart to people—especially those marginalized by society—who seek the gospel, fellowship, support, and assistance. We will take a brief look at some of the key points of this resource over the next couple of days.
This message was adapted from the “Welcoming the Stranger” resource written by Frances Frazier and Mary Zentner and available for free on the Women of the ELCA website.