6th Weekend after Pentecost 7-17-2022
July 17, 2022 | Bryan Simmons
Passage: Luke 10:38-42
The good news is, actually for the sermon, I'm getting closer to you, so this might actually help out. So I don't know. It's getting warmer, you know? And I thought it might be okay to have some water. So I just happened to prepare some water here ahead of time. And I'll just hand this out as I preach a little bit as well. So. And if anyone wants to help hand this water out, they can, too. That would be great, actually. But, yeah, I even put a towel over the top to make sure that nothing got in it while we were waiting here. But one of the things that I find interesting about that Genesis story that Ann read, and hopefully you heard it, was this idea of hospitality. And I've heard it said before that, you know, you should always entertain strangers because you never know when you're going to entertain an angel. And I don't know if I really like that phraseology so much. And I think one of the reasons I'm not so thrilled about that is because in that culture, in the ancient Near East, hospitality was just paramount. It was one of those embedded cultural expectations that happens. When these three were passing by passing by the oaks here where Abraham and Sarah were. It wasn't that -- it was just kind of a neat thing that they would be treated as they pass by. But you think about traveling at that time in the wilderness, in the deserts of ancient Israel. It wasn't pleasant.
They didn't have a lot of easy ways to go about travel. A lot of people traveled on foot. Maybe you're lucky to have an animal to ride on, but the majority of travel was on foot and you were literally in peril to take any journey whatsoever. It was not pleasant. The desert heat could kill you. The wild animals could kill you. Bandits could kill you. And all the while, you're just exhausted from walking for days on end. And so when you would come across a stranger's place it was expected that they would take you in. It was expected that they would, you know, get water for you to to cool your parched mouth and also to, you know, wash your feet off because they got dusty from the road. Feed you, shelter you, which provided protection for the night. Not only that, what was interesting about the whole thing is you were you were treated as royalty, as the guest, as a complete stranger. And that's always kind of an interesting thing to think about. The strangers in the home were the lords of the home at that time. We're so far removed from that level of hospitality in our own culture, and I don't think that's something we need to necessarily feel bad about. It's a completely different way of looking at things. Plus, there's all you can stay at a hotel now. So it's not it's not as pragmatic as it once was. But I think there is some something to be said about hospitality and, you know, something as simple as even receiving a cold glass of water.
Maybe it's cool by now. I don't know. It's something to be said about receiving that cold glass of water. Just kind of elevates things a little bit, makes you feel a little special. Thank you to those of you who help pass water out as well. It makes you feel a little special, right? And it's refreshing. It's relieving. There's a sense of of belonging that automatically just gets developed in that hospitality. And so embedded in that culture pragmatically still exists today and still benefits those that receive it, also benefits those that give it. And it's not that I'm necessarily saying, well, we just ought to be more hospitable, shame on you all. But I think what's interesting is so this culture that has this idea of hospitality as this norm, this expectation. Abraham and Sarah were just doing it, right? When those three strangers came by the text doesn't say that Abraham knows this is the Lord coming by, and it doesn't say that Abraham and Sarah are, Oh, I hope this is the Lord coming by so we can entertain them and get what we want. Remember, this promise has been made to Abraham and Sarah, that through Abraham and Sarah would be the birth of many nations. That the descendants would be so many that they couldn't count. Just like the sand. Just like the stars in the sky. But by this time, by the time that Abraham and Sarah are entertaining these three that they don't know is the Lord -- they're in their nineties. They have spent the majority of their lives living in this promise that has yet to be fulfilled to them. And yet in many ways, they continue to be just who they are.
Now, they're not completely at fault, right? They've had a couple of hiccups along the way where they've tried to maybe help God out with this promise by taking the slave Hagar and making an heir through her and things like that. There's been some errors along the way. With really devastating consequences. But at the same time, while waiting for the promise, they carry on their lives as usual.
And I think that has some implications for us as we think about the promise that we live in. The promise is given to us by Jesus and his death on the cross in resurrection on the third day. We too, are called to live into this promise in a very normal way. We're called to share in this hospitality. We talk about the Kingdom of Heaven as the feast to come. Right? You've heard that said about the meal -- that it's a foretaste of the feast to come. A giant party thrown in our honor. Already promised to us, already given to us, but yet not fully realised by us. Right? We're in that weird in-between. And yet the calling on us is this invitation. To join into this hospitality feast and invite others into it. It's not a demand on us. It's not a requirement that we do so.
Because God has already forgiven us. God has already loved us to the point where God sent His only son for you and for me. So it's an invitation. To extend a degree of hospitality to your neighbor, to strangers. As we await the fulfillment of our promise. So that they may be refreshed by a cup of cool water.
As Jesus says, anyone who gives even a cup of cool water to little ones in his name receives their reward. It's this idea of living out our lives in the promise. Living out the reality of God's love in our lives by sharing it with others. It almost becomes this natural, embedded cultural thing within the church to do so. At least that's the idea. Because God loves you, you are free to love others because God has shown you great hospitality. You are free to be hospitable to others, even complete strangers. And you can do this individually. But you're not expected to do it alone. We as the Church do this work together out of joyful response for what God has done for us. We live in the promise. A promise that is not yet fulfilled. Right? We don't fully realize this until The last day or Our last day, whichever comes first. And yet as people who live in the promise we can live our lives and carry it out in very basic ways for others. So that we may entertain complete strangers and they may know God's love through our generosity. Amen.