Genesis 18:1-10 (ESV)
18 And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks[a] of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth 3 and said, “O Lord,[b] if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. 4 Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, 5 while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.”6 And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs[c]of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.” 7 And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. 8 Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
9 They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.”10 The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him.
Quick, defrost the cake! Scoot over to the gas station and get
some ice. For goodness sakes, straighten up the den, and would
somebody please get those tricycles and scooters out of the
driveway! Company’s coming!
Unexpected visitors can bring either joy and excitement or
anxiety and even dread. Abraham and Sarah, the first of God’s
chosen people of old, were accustomed to people stopping by. In
a time without Motel 6 or McDonalds, travelers were often
given food and drink on their journeys.
In today’s passage, Abraham takes the lead in welcoming three
visitors to their home, insisting that they stop and rest, giving
them not just a snack, but a feast. It is only later that he learns
that this encounter was a holy one, as it was God who came to
him through these three visitors.
Jesus invites each of us to show this kind of hospitality to
others. At St. John’s, we often welcome others with food.
However, there are many ways to offer a welcoming presence. A
handshake. A smile. Staying around for just a few more minutes
to continue a conversation. Noticing and speaking with a
newcomer. Stepping out of our comfort zones to meet people
who may look and speak differently.
Quick! Get the good china out! Company’s coming! But for
disciples, it is not “company.” Friends and neighbors whom we
have not met are coming. And through them, Jesus is present.
Quick! Let’s welcome them!
O Lord, put your Spirit of welcome into my heart, that my first
thought would be to seek out the one I don’t know and, like
Abraham, give something of myself in welcome. In Jesus’ name,
Written by Pastor Pam Mitcham
Pastor of Community Care