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Scripture Reading: Genesis 19: 1-3 and 18-20 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”  “No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”  But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.  But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”

Gospel Reading: Hebrews 13:1-2 Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Explain Extravagant Welcome

  • from the UCC
  • from our Latino Cultures
    • how many people have had an uninvited guest during meal time and we share!
  • in my home
    • when I was married we saved our awesome stuff for special events, NOW every day is a special day

TheGood_AngelsVisitLotThe Good: Intentionality Start telling them the story you heard on a podcast….

  • start with the fact that this was her dream job (flight attendant)
  • all about welcoming people, making them comfortable etc…
  • tell them up to the point that the guy finally sat down…
  • She remembers the world view at that time
    • Forest fires in California
    • Smoldering towers in Manhattan

The bible has an amazing example of extravagant welcome, read the story of Sodom and Gommorah…there were 2 visitors who showed up in a town unexpectedly, there was a man named Lot who was near the gate when they showed up.  And Lot knew what his town was like…WE know what this world is like!  We know the damage and hurt and pain that happens “in our real world”

  • Places we aren’t welcome because of our tattoos
  • Places that ask that we dress a different way
  • Places where the amount we have is not enough
  • Places where our language or accent aren’t acceptable

TheBadAndTheUgly_JaelSmoteSiseraThe Bad: Intentionality (Judges 4) Just like there are stories that model good behavior, there are stories that we are told are about good people that did bad things.  Do you know the story of Jael and Sisera?  Some of you might know it as the story of Deborah…

“Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim.  Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help. 

 Jael’s husband, Heber was in business with Sisera, Heber was an iron worker and wouldn’t you be on good terms with a guy like Sisera who had 900 iron chariots?  Jael had an unexpected visitor show up at her tent home…Sisera running away from what probably was a massacre of his people runs and looks to hide out with someone he knows will not turn away from him…

Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a blanket. “I’m thirsty,” he said. “Please give me some water.” She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up.  “Stand in the doorway of the tent,” he told her. “If someone comes by and asks you, ‘Is anyone in there?’ say ‘No.’”

She did all the things we do in extravagant welcome, he asked for the least and she gave him her best!  She treated him like an honored guest…

 And the Ugly  Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a blanket. “I’m thirsty,” he said. “Please give me some water.” She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up.  “Stand in the doorway of the tent,” he told her. “If someone comes by and asks you, ‘Is anyone in there?’ say ‘No.’”  But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.”

There are parts of people’s stories that most of us don’t pay attention to, in the story of Jael it is the fact that she has ties to Moses.  She is said to have been related to Moses by marriage (I didn’t research that to thoroughly so I don’t know which of Moses wives was related to Jael) but isn’t this our story too?

People come into our church with all that they are and all of the things that made them.  But it is important that we be present in their stories, that we be genuine in our attentions that we get to know each other personally so we understand our connections.

The flight attendant saw that man again towards the end of the flight, as the man waited to use the restroom, she was sitting in the rear of the plain, and though she would rather have continued to read her book, she opted for kindness and human interaction.  She smiled and asked, sir are you traveling for business or pleasure?  And finally she heard his story and realized everyone has a story and how dare she have tried to judge him by what she saw…

  • His son had gone to NYC as a first responder after 9/11 and had died
  • He was in NYC picking up his son’s uniform (the only things he had left of his son)

 Conclusion

  • We that are believers are God’s emissaries here, ACT LIKE IT!
  • Be genuine
  • Smile and be kind
  • Be present
  • Remember that we are different one from the other and that our stories connect us!

Let us pray, Ask God for the strength be genuine in our welcome.  Of all God’s people!

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If you would like to hear the Podcast: Faye LaneFireworks from Above http://www.avclub.com/articles/faye-lane-fireworks-from-above,92009/

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