Two great Christian virtues; Two traits, we as followers of Jesus of Nazareth should be noted for, are welcome and hospitality.
Abraham looked up and saw three men standing patiently nearby.
When I went to Kenya in 1964 it was the custom of the older generation, when visiting someone’s house, rather than going up to the house and knocking or announcing their presence with a loud greeting, to stand or sit in the shade of a nearby tree in full view of the house and wait patiently to be noticed, approached and welcomed.
This was obviously the custom also at the time of Abraham.
Having noticed them Abraham hurried to greet and welcome them into his home.
Obviously Abraham acted in this way not just because it was the custom and the done thing but principally because he felt honoured at being visited and was eager to hear what they had to say and what news they brought as well as being eager to tell them all about himself and how he and his family were.
He showed true and sincere welcome and hospitality.
Jesus and his entourage were passing by the village of Bethany on their way and Jesus slipped away unnoticed to visit his dear friends Martha and Mary.
Both sisters were as delighted to see and welcome him as he was to visit them.
But both reacted differently. Martha immediately began to think; what am I going to cook? is the house clean? is the spare room tidy and ready? And instead of sitting down and hearing all Jesus’ news and telling him her news she bustled around like a small tornado trying to do everything at once and getting stressed out and angry with her, to her mind, unhelpful sister.
All Jesus wanted to do was talk to his friends and listen to them.
In the Bible to have a visitor is an honour, a privilege, a gift.
I find that the most satisfying visit is when there is no fuss or preparation.
People sit down, talk and exchange news over a simple cuppa. You do not feel that you are disrupting anything or causing anxiety in any way.
In the Christian tradition visiting should be enjoyable and fulfilling for both the visited and the visitor.
Small tornadoes, though understandable, put everyone on edge.
I was still quite young when I noticed that when we were expecting a female visitor my mother morphed into a small to medium sized tornado and we were all swept up into the flurry of preparation. On the other hand if the visitor was male there was hardly even a gentle breeze.
I wonder why is that???