Romans 12:9-13 says, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality” (NLV).
Anyone from Appleton Alliance that has traveled to visit with our church’s handful of global partners usually expresses a sense of humility in receiving the deep hospitality of our brothers and sisters in Christ abroad. What are the roots of this practice of hospitality? Out of a love for Christ comes a genuine affection. Paul describes a relationship that empowers believers to be spurred on by one another, to accomplish more by helping each other.
I cannot remember a time where there has been more of a sense of unity in affliction across the world. We are all in the same boat, dealing with the pandemic and all the other challenges facing us such as racial tensions, economic crises, and political divisions that have been impacting our societies across Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, and South America. Just as we have mutual troubles, we also have hope in Christ which brings us together.
Today we cannot travel easily internationally or even easily feel comfortable inviting a neighbor into our home. But the foundations of this hospitable spirit come out of love and awareness of each other, even on the other side of the globe. When the times have been hardest, which they are in both Burkina and Peru and also here in the U.S., we are encouraged to press on because of our mutual love. Even when Burkina brothers and sisters face food shortages and terrorism along with the pandemic, I hear their main concern is for those that do not know hope in Christ. Their passion to serve gives me hope and spurs me on. When the pandemic in Peru impacts our sister church with key leaders succumbing to COVID-19, they care for each other with love and help. Their care through Christ models love that spurs me on.
Let’s keep connected with one another, local to global, to be the Church, bound in love, and serving Christ impacting the world together in love.