In our scene for today, Jesus is at the house of a leader of the Pharisees to share in a meal. As he watches the other guests arrive, he takes notice of how they choose to sit in the places of honor. Jesus then tells a parable on the meaninglessness of social status: “Take the lowest status seat available and wait to be asked to take a better seat. That way you won’t be humiliated when the host asks you to move to make room for someone more important” (AP).

I was on the return flight from an international trip, comfortable in my aisle seat near the front of the plane. A flight attendant asked me to switch seats so a man in the back could sit with his family, who were sitting in the seats adjacent or across the aisle from me. I tried to maintain a positive attitude as the attendant led me to a middle seat near the back of the plane. I wasn’t feeling particularly hospitable at the moment but decided to make the best of it so the family could stay together.

I tried to get comfortable sandwiched between two other passengers. Then the attendant approached me again. The person in the emergency aisle seat did not speak English, which was a requirement to sit in that row. Would I mind moving again? I flew home with an entire row to myself, with extra leg room.

Hospitality comes in many forms. Sometimes extending it includes doing things that weren’t in our original plans so others can have a better seat. Sometimes we’re invited to take the better seat.

Lord of community, increase our awareness of ways we can extend hospitality to others. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 14:1, 7-14

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Lectionary Week
August 22–28, 2022
Scripture Overview

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.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

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.

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