The author of Hebrews ends on what some scholars speculate may have been an afterthought. If so, perhaps the author wanted to leave readers with one final encouragement: Praise God and remember to do good, including sharing what you have.
My favorite local evening news program closes each broadcast with an inspirational story about people showing kindness to neighbors. Through hurricanes, floods, and pandemics, they always manage to find someone doing something great for other people. It is a real morale booster after a half hour of disturbing and distressing reports of crime, greed, and corruption.
Many people do acts of kindness. What sets the Christian community apart is our conviction that we show mercy and kindness to others because of what Christ first did for us on the cross.
Perhaps equally important, as we try to figure out how to live together in our global village, are the many ways Jesus demonstrated how to treat others. He showed grace to those that society tends to reject—people with contagious diseases, poor people, foreigners, and immigrants. But Jesus also showed kindness and grace to those who seemed to have more than they needed. He was a frequent guest in the homes of those others looked upon with suspicion and contempt.
In one way, the Christian life is easy. In Christ, God has already done everything to bring us into relationship with God’s self. But it is also an extremely challenging path because we are called to set aside our prejudices and to reach out to those we would prefer to ignore.
Lord and lover of all people, forgive us when we fail to follow where you lead. Thank you for your endless supply of grace and forgiveness. Amen.
Jeremiah had the unenviable task of speaking truth to power. While others were proclaiming how good things were, he was called and compelled to insist things were not all that great. The people kept ignoring Yahweh’s persistent invitations to abandon their pseudo-gods and focus on Yahweh. The theme of God’s hospitality continues in our texts from Hebrews as the author reminds readers that when we extend a genuine welcome to strangers, we may actually be hosting the Lord God. Luke picks up the hospitality thread by proposing a radical new way of deciding whom to include. He extends God’s compassion for all humanity by suggesting that we start our invitation lists with those who would not typically be included. God’s central message to humans through the centuries, through the scriptures, and most certainly through Christ, is consistent: You, personally, are invited to be God’s precious guest on the journey through life.
Read Jeremiah 2:4-9. When have you needed to tell authority figures that something was wrong? Where did you find your courage to deliver the message?
Read Psalm 81. What treasured traditions do you have in your family or with your friends?
Read Hebrews 13:15-16. Where do you observe people going out of their way to show compassion to others? Where have you received unsolicited kindness?
Read Luke 14:12-14. When have you extended hospitality to someone who couldn’t pay you back?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.