Observation: The preacher of Hebrews ends his sermon on a high note with practical instructions of faith. "Keep on loving each other." Grounded in God's love sharing this love to one another is the only way to overcome the fractured community and prepare for God's healing. Then, the reminder comes; 'Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it." If the community is to grow, then imitating Christ's concern for the stranger must be a practice within the community of faith.
Application: I cannot withhold tears when looking at the above picture. Declan (my soon to be 3 year old) is sitting in my office as I type this. I look over at him and could not bear the loss of his life. The charge to show hospitality to the stranger is real and neglecting this aspect of our faith in regards to the least and most vulnerable in our society is a life and death proposition. This 3 year old toddler washed up on the shores in Europe because of the mass exodus from places of war and torment like Syria.
What does it mean to welcome the stranger? What might it mean to welcome refugees? How does our faith guide us in this process?
Pope Francis instructed his communities of faith (Churches, monasteries, convents etc.) to welcome in families in crisis. I think he did so because he can see angels in the faces of these refugees. The preacher instructs his community of faith to welcome the stranger not because they can see the face of angels in the stranger but so that BY FAITH they might do so after practicing this radical hospitality.
Prayer: Lord, help us to entertain angels even when we do not realize it. Be with the refugees who are in deep crisis and move us by faith to respond as you might have us see Christ in others.