Who Do You Say I Am?

They had primary aged kids and so did we, so we got along fine. The kids spent all day together in the swimming pool in the Cooktown Caravan Park in far north Queensland while the mums and dads cooked a barbecue lunch and then lounged back in deck chairs and got to know each other. They weren’t church goers and it didn’t seem to bother them that I was a pastor. As we were leaving they said, “If you’re heading back down the coast call into our place and stay a few nights; we live in Rockhampton.” As it turned our they were attending a wedding the day we arrived, but it wasn’t a problem – they simply left the house keys with the next-door neighbours with the invitation to “let yourself in and make yourself at home!”

As I was thinking about philoxenos, the Greek word for ‘hospitality’, I couldn’t think of a better example of it. Philos is the Greek word meaning ‘the love of a friend’ and xenos meaning ‘stranger’ – literally ‘to love the stranger as a friend’. Four days earlier we were complete strangers and now we were welcomed as friends. It was the highlight of our trip and our children, who are now grown adults, still talk about it.

Imagine what the world would look like if we could treat each other in this way. Little wonder that many of the writers of the letters contained in the New Testament gave this encouragement to their .
various audiences (Paul – Romans 12:13, Barnabas – Hebrews 13:2 & Peter – 1 Peter 4:9).

And how different would our church be if we took this call to heart with each new person who appeared here on Sunday and who chose to remain. There have been at least 25 new appearances in the past twelve months. Have we shown them philoxenos?

from Frank Ea,mes