Q&A: Welcoming the Stranger

Q&A: Welcoming the Stranger


Founder of Home for Good

Q: Even though we’re so digitally connected, people express a lot of difficulty in interpersonal relationships and in finding friends. How can Christian hospitality help in this cultural moment? 01

Time after time in the Old Testament, we’re told that we demonstrate our love for God by how we treat the widow, the orphan and the stranger (or the refugee, as some translations put it). If these are the people who are on God’s heart, then surely these people are to be important to us too. Hospitality calls us to welcome the stranger, not just into our social media groupings, but into our lives and into our homes.

Think about the low moment in the New Testament when the two disciples were walking home from Jerusalem, thinking that the end had come because Jesus had been murdered on a cross by the Roman Imperial power. A stranger comes alongside them and starts to talk to them about Jesus and who he was and what he accomplished. When they get to their homes, the disciples beg the stranger to come inside. It’s only when they share bread with him that their eyes are opened, and they see Jesus.

As we welcome the stranger, we welcome Jesus. As we welcome into our hearts and homes the people who are radically different from us or who don’t fit the kind of social, economic ethnography that we’re used to, that’s when we begin to demonstrate something of the grace of God. As we do that, we meet Jesus in the stranger.

Q: What can hospitality look like for young adults who don’t feel they have the means to open their home or share their resources? 02

When the Prophet Elijah was in need, he went to stay with a widow of Zarephath, who had absolutely nothing and shared her last morsel of food with him. Generosity is demonstrated in scripture not by those who are wealthy and give out of their abundance, but by those who share what little they do have.

Hospitality is a frame of mind; it’s a posture toward the world. You don’t need to own a big house or have a large family to extend hospitality. It can be choosing where you sit in the cafeteria at the school or college or in the workplace. It can be crossing a room to meet someone who feels estranged or socially outcast. For an introvert, offering hospitality can mean going deeper and being faithful to someone who is really wrestling with something. It’s having eyes open within your circle of influence to show genuine compassion.

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