Be Kind to Strangers…

Don’t forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it. Hebrews 13:2

Meditation: What if the strangers living in our midst are messengers of God? What if being kind to strangers is a way to serve and host God? I remember when I was 23 years old I travelled for three months through India. A young woman – alone with a backpack and her guitar. I felt quite vulnerable at times sitting in hot trains that would transport me for a day or two from one area in South India to another. I experienced hospitality that still makes me tear up. Young Indian girls would get up at 5am to collect firewood so that I could have a warm bath. Vegetarian food was prepared for me, and tea boiled on open fires. I was forgiven that I was not wearing an adult saree at first but a Western skirt. Did I not know that skirts were only for small girls? When I finally caught on and started wearing a saree, the women brought me necklaces and bracelets for my ankles and wrists as I was not wearing any jewelry. They forgave me that I did not know that only prostitutes were not wearing jewelry. The kindness I experienced I will never forget. The women’s patience with my ignorance. The many accommodations and gentle explanations to make me feel at home in a strange land. This experience later gave me the courage at 29 to emigrate to the US, a country that welcomed me and became my second home. May this country continue to be kind to strangers.

Prayer: God of Ages, throughout the Jewish and Christian Scriptures you have called for kindness and hospitality towards strangers and foreigners. You ask for inclusion and generosity, for provision of needs and protection from harm for those strangers who are most vulnerable. God, this Christian nation is turning inward. It is forgetting the basic ethics of their ancestors. God, have mercy on those who are forgetting and on those who are being forgotten. Amen

 “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child.” Exodus 22:21-22

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