Pastor Cheryl Hoffman's sermon for Sunday, August 28, 2022.Readings: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16, Luke 14:1,7-14.
Jesus calls us to make friends with strangers.
Last week we agreed that teaching is one of the things that Jesus does routinely, especially on the sabbath. Well, it is yet again the sabbath so, guess what we find Jesus doing today? Teaching.Only on this sabbath Jesus is not in the synagogue, but in the house of a Pharisee who has invited him to come and share a sabbath meal. Today, Jesus’ lesson, while not a straightforward lecture, is clearly a tutorial. He wants his listeners not only to hear, but to learn and be changed by what he teaches them.
Following Jesus’ example, today’s sermon will be in lesson format.
Although my vocation is greatly dependent upon reading, writing, and speaking; English and Language Arts were not my favorite subjects. I would much rather solve complex quadratic equations and work my way through multi-stepped calculus problems than learn verb tenses, spell, or explain the meaning of some novel. And, my grades reflected this reality.
Unfortunately, today’s gospel story is not one of Jesus’ math lessons. Today’s lesson is part language arts and part family and life science.
The theme is “HOSPITALITY,” a very interesting word. It doesn’t have a complicated history or obscure meaning. It’s not even difficult to spell. But, its reality is neither simple nor easy. Hospitality is noun. It’s derived from the Latin hospitalis, meaning “of a guest.” Hospitalis is also the root of the words hospital and hostel, both of which are forms of guesthouses.
The Greek word for hospitality is φιλοξενία (philo-zenos). The first part is “a love for,” or “to be fond of.” The second part is the word for “stranger.” So, hospitality is about how we conduct ourselves in the presence of guests, or strangers. If our conduct is fond, loving or kind, our behavior is hospitable. And, if our demeanor is less than fond, or outright mean and heartless, we are inhospitable hosts.
A place can also be characterized as hospitable. A hospitable location is one that’s pleasant, and promotes growth and health. An inhospitable space is one that is unfit for life and living. The environment, or tone, of a situation, place or person, can be hospitable. A workplace with a hospitable environment is one that welcomes new ideas and is open to change.Inhospitable conditions are hostile, and shut down communication.
So you have a good sense of what it means to show hospitality or be hospitable, right? It means to be warm, friendly and show caring.