It was great yesterday night to have our community group over at our house. Because of the craziness of our summer schedules, we decided to take a few months off from our weekly meeting time. Instead, we are meeting once a month for a potluck meal, fellowship, prayer and lots of laughter. One person took the words right out of my mouth when they said, “I forgot how much I missed this!”.
Many people on their way out thanked us for our hospitality, and so often when we use that word we generally do think of welcoming people into our homes. But as Christ followers there is something much more important than opening our front doors to people. And that is opening our lives to them. And even opening our faces.
Opening our faces? What do you mean by that? I don’t know about you, but when I think of the most hospitable people that I have had the pleasure of worshiping beside over the years, they all had something in common: It was a smile, a gaze, a tone of voice that communicated “Your safe with me. This is a place where you will receive grace not condemnation, understanding not a lecture.”
Jesus had that kind of face. It was a face that encouraged a woman with loose sexual morals to engage him in spiritual questions by a well. It was a face that led a man steeped in religious legalism to seek him out for an evening interview. And a member of the occuping military force to come and ask for the healing of his daughter. And a ragtag group of fishermen and relgious dropouts to follow him to the ends of the earth.
As those who have been clothed with Christ through the waters of baptism and been empowered by his very spirit, let us likewise show hospitality. Let us like Jesus, open ourselves up to not only to those like us, but to the poor, the outsiders, the excluded, the ones everyone else has forgot (0r would like to forget).
The way we do this – is through our face! Our eyes, our smile, our voice that says, “Come on in. You have nothing to fear from me. I care about you!”
Who do you know that needs to see the face of Jesus?
See you Sunday!