“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers.” So we’re told in today’s Letter to the Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16. So let me ask you, how’s that working for you these days? What does hospitality mean and look like for you…
I don’t know if we were entertaining an angel that day, but I do know that she was a stranger. She was not a stranger in the sense that she was unknown and unfamiliar to me. I had dealt with her before. She was, however, a stranger in the sense that she was different from me and the others in the class. Her look, smell, and way of life were strange to us. I said to her Holall the right things, at least out loud I did. But the ideas, thoughts, and conversation inside me were a bit different.
Throughout our lives we find ourselves in circumstances or situations that are strange, new, incomprehensible. They’re beyond our previous experience and more often than not they leave us feeling estranged from ourselves, an alien in our own life. You know what that’s like, right?
I wonder if that’s exactly how Mary feels. I wonder if her leaving in haste is the outer expression of her inner estrangement. I wonder if her leaving home reflects that she is not yet at home in herself.
What are your stories of being alienated from yourself? What's your first memory of that? What is your most recent memory of that? When have you felt like a stranger in your own skin?
I think we all live as women and men with unclean spirits. They are those times when we betray our own integrity, when we are confused and lost about who we are or who we want to be, when we look at our life and don't recognize ourselves or like what we see. Or maybe we want our life to be different. We want to stop causing trouble and difficulty for ourselves. We want to be more or different than what we have become. I think that's what it's like to live with an unclean spirit.