Each week for this season our devotions will be centered around the practice of PRAYER. Like the disciples we too have the opportunity to ask Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” We encourage you to read all prayers and Psalms out loud – let the words of Scripture fill your prayers!
Devotional Thought // Pastor Andrea
Last week our staff spent a “soul day” together at the Mt. Angel Abbey. We took time to enjoy the striking beauty of this spot and met in the guest house to spend time praying and meditating. When we entered, we were greeted by this sign:
On this day, we were the recipients of gracious hospitality that was evidenced in so many ways – we felt welcomed by the serene architectural spaces, the simply elegant decor, the comfortable seating, the delicious and healthy lunch that was prepared for us and the friendly people who greeted us and served us. We left feeling revitalized and refreshed in our spirits, ready to go and serve others. Hospitality is the sort of gift that lends itself very well to regifting!
As I investigated the guidelines of the Benedictine Order, I discovered that the “rule” noted above was based directly on Matthew 25:35: “ I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” We have probably read this verse many times, but have we thought lately about how it applies to this particular time in history?
Andrea, “We’re in the middle of a pandemic”, you may be thinking. Hospitality seems severely restricted. In one sense, that may be true, but in another sense, it seems that there never was a time when hospitality was more appropriate and relevant! Let’s go back to one of our definitions of hospitality from Sunday’s sermon:
Hospitality is an offer to identify with outsiders and to treat them like insiders.– Scott Cormode
Once we were ALL outsiders in relationship to God, as we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) But those of us who follow Jesus and confess Him as our Savior, have been made “insiders”.
26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:26-28
Since we have been transformed into “insiders”who have unlimited access to the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of Christ, should we not be at the forefront of extending a hospitable welcome to the weary, the angry, the tired and the outcast? Let’s discuss some ways we can do that TODAY.
- Smile with your eyes and greet a weary, overworked store clerk with a friendly “Hello” and a patient attitude.
- Sponsor a child on our “giving tree” from Chavez Elementary and bless them with a Christmas gift.
- Send a note of thanks or drop a batch of cookies off to healthcare workers or emergency responders who have served all of us faithfully during this time.
- Wear your mask without grumbling and without being asked as a way to show kindness to all around you.
- Drop off coats here at New Hope during our coat drive for our houseless population.
- “Visit” with someone who is homebound or medically vulnerable by calling or connecting through FaceTime or other platform.
- Sponsor a child in Xeo, Guatemala, our “sister” city where many are still suffering the effects not only of COVID, but also of flooding from hurricanes and ongoing poverty.
- Volunteer to serve at our Food Pantry and have the pleasure of extending welcome to those who need some extra assistance during this tough time.
Keep in mind what Jesus said:
‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’Matthew 25: 45
1 Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!Psalm 41
The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.
2 The Lord protects them
and keeps them alive.
He gives them prosperity in the land
and rescues them from their enemies.
3 The Lord nurses them when they are sick
and restores them to health.
1 Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered;
let those who hate him also flee before him.
2 As the smoke vanishes, so shall you drive them away;
and as wax melts before the fire, so let the ungodly perish before the presence of God.
3 But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God;
let them also be merry and joyful.
4 O sing unto God, and sing praises unto his Name; magnify him who rides upon the heavens.
The Lord is his Name; rejoice before him.
5 He is a father of the fatherless and defends the cause of the widows,
God in his holy habitation.
6 He is the God who gives the solitary a home, and brings the prisoners out of captivity,
but lets the rebellious dwell in a desert land.
7 O God, when you went forth before the people,
when you went through the wilderness,
8 The earth shook, and the heavens poured forth rain at the presence of God,
even as Sinai also was moved at the presence of God, who is the God of Israel.
9 You, O God, sent a gracious rain upon your inheritance
and refreshed the land when it was weary.
10 Your congregation found a dwelling there,
for you, O God, of your goodness have provided for the poor.
11 The Lord gave the word;
great was the company of those who proclaimed the tidings.
12 Kings with their armies fled, they fled,
and the women at home divided the spoil.
13 Though you have lain among the sheepfolds,
yet shall you be like the wings of a dove that are covered with silver, and whose feathers shine like gold.
14 When the Almighty scattered kings,
it was as if it snowed in Zalmon.
15 As the hill of Bashan, so is God’s hill,
even a high hill, as the hill of Bashan.
16 Why look with envy, you high hills? This is God’s hill, on which it pleases him to dwell;
surely, the Lord will abide on it for ever.
17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels,
and the Lord has come from Sinai into the holy place.
18 You have gone up on high; you have led captivity captive, and received gifts from men,
even from your enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them.
Dear Lord, We confess to you that we have often been more interested in our own comfort and in airing our own perceived grievances than in being hospitable to others. Help us to look for opportunities to make others feel welcome in our weary world.