Todays’ Scripture: 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.  (NRSV)
Artwork by David Cipolletti

Artwork by David Cipolletti

One of the ancient and widely-practiced customs was hospitality.  Early in the Hebrew Scriptures, we find the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Lot, and Manoah (Samson’s father), each of whom entertained angels unaware.  We find numerous examples in the early church.  In our passage for today, the author encourages his readers to mutual love and hospitality.

Recently I prepared a partial list of the ministries of the Board of Missions.  The list quickly numbered more than 20 items: feeding the homeless, helping provide a camp experience for underprivileged inner-city children, CARITAS, medical trips to Panama, building ramps for the disabled, working in the schools of depressed neighborhoods, encouraging and ministering to those on Indian reservations, reaching out to college students, Meals on Wheels, ESL, supporting the local food bank, providing food and clothes for the three Richmond Baptist Centers to distribute, preparing Thanksgiving boxes for needy families, visiting prisoners.  Even this small portion of the list makes it clear that River Road Church is showing hospitality to strangers.

And of course, the Biblical writer tacks on, “for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”  Again and again I hear members of our church talk about those “God-moments” and the personal blessings that happen in the midst of these various ministries.  Entertaining angels?  Perhaps.