Scripture: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
“Let mutual affection continue.” Hebrews 13:1
Love became flesh and lived among us, full of grace and truth. And Love invites us to love, for we are Love’s agents in the world.
How easily we warm up to what we don’t have. We tell ourselves, “I would like to, but I don’t have time.” And while we say to others that we always have time for what is important, how important is it to us that mutual love continue? What does continuing mutual love look like? To help us get the picture, the writer of Hebrews provides specifics.
Among other things, love offers hospitality to strangers. Cleopas and his companion welcomed a stranger they met on the Emmaus road, and what a surprise that led to! We experience our own delightful surprises as guests and as hosts. Hospitality can be the provision of a meal, a bed, or a ride. It can also include the offer of presence, companionship, and prayer. Whatever hospitality covers, there we find the One who is endlessly hospitable to us, making divine presence known, making “mutual” more than two.
We show love by remembering those in prison and empathizing with them in such a way that we understand to some extent their situation. We may visit the penal institution, but the “prisoner” may be shut up in a rest home, hospital room, or may be locked into destructive behaviors, guilt, and unforgiveness. Wherever the prisoners are, the love of Christ that we bring can set them free.
Mutual love. We receive and give. We maintain balance through our openness to receive, that from receiving, we may give. And God the Source is in the flow, for our mutual love expresses the love that is God, a Holy Trinity of self-giving love.
Loving God, you are hospitality itself. Open our hearts to be bearers of your love. Amen.
By B. John Franklin, Upper Room Disciplines 2013, p. 288.