We sometimes overlook, or misunderstand, the revolutionary character of Jesus’ message. This week’s text from Luke 14:1, 7-14, is worth taking a closer look. Jesus’ advice was to, “not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors to your luncheons, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid.” Instead Jesus declares that his followers (that’s us!) should invite those who have no hope of ever repaying their host— those he so-called “the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.” In other words, those so-called outcasts who can never promote their hosts’ status, and whose presence at table will most likely pull down their host’s standing in the community social structure. Wow. Hospitality occurs when the stranger and neighbor and the excluded are intentionally invited and included! All are welcome means, well, ALL are welcomed (and intentionally invited, sought out, and brought!).
Jesus is describing a whole new model of hospitality. How could our worship, concerts, dinners, bazaars, and all other community-facing events become more seed-planting, farming-style, and hospitality-driven? Let’s consider our amazing events to be interconnected… and stack them up, one on top of the other, each connected to the other, so that together they become cascading opportunities to welcome the stranger, reach out to neighbors, and in the end, embrace God’s own love for us all. Let’s not overlook God’s seeking out of us, welcoming us into the abundant life through Christ!This Fall, let’s stack-up our events in authentic and humble hospitality. God’s love… for all! (Who will you invite?!)