There's somebody I don't know. He's not from around here. He isn't dressed like us, his mannerisms are peculiar, his accent is strange, he doesn't think like I do, his tattoos or his gait or his religion or his political viewpoint or his line of work or whom he loves qualifies him as a stranger.
The world says Be suspicious. Be afraid. Profiling is not only acceptable but prudent. Why bother connecting with a stranger? I have enough to do, it would be hard work, and scary.
But Jesus is all about hospitality. Jesus believes that when we encounter the one who is different, when we engage, when we aren't merely polite or tolerant but actually hospitable to the other, we grow, we uncover new truths about ourselves. If we haven't honed our skills at burrowing out of our narrowness to connect with the stranger, we probably will miss Jesus too, since he is from another place and time, his skin dark, his hair long, his lifestyle unsettling, his words troubling.
Children are taught not to cross the road; but as they mature they navigate the dangers and can find their way. Children are taught not to speak to strangers; but as we mature, we know how to be cautious, but we also can discern how to poke through barriers, and even befriend.
There's a stranger. Might just be somebody Jesus sent - or Jesus himself in disguise. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2).
To meet lovely strangers.... Come to the church Wed. Feb. 6 @6:30pm or Sun. Feb. 10 @12:15 to learn about joining one of our Hope Teams. You and 4 or 5 others befriend someone and change a family's life (yours and theirs!) through our friends at Charlotte Family Housing.
Watch this terrific video about Elizabeth House - our great new project with CFH.