Dear friend, when you extend hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters, even when they are strangers, you make the faith visible. They’ve made a full report back to the church here, a message about your love. It’s good work you’re doing, helping these travelers on their way, hospitality worthy of God himself! III John 1:5-6
I hope you have enjoyed some of my old blogs while I was away. My time off from the blog was the result of a vacation. Vacation was wonderful, but I am also glad to be back! My wife and I, along with my daughter and son-in-law, went on a long anticipated trip to Italy. I could not possibly convey all the things we experienced there because it was truly a cultural as well as an educational venture. I will just cover a few highlights, and I hope to expand them into a format that allows you to see some of the insights I was given.
As we travel to new places, and especially to places where the language and customs are different, we become more vulnerable. The things to which we have become accustomed are often no longer available. We become dependent on others for help in getting directions, as well as learning the way things are done in another culture. Simple kindnesses from others become larger than we may have expected were we not in that more vulnerable state.
I give as an example a small thing that illustrates the point. On our flight from Paris to Florence, the flight attendant was very busy, trying to please so many passengers in a short amount of time. I saw that as she was serving the drinks off the cart that time was running thin since the flight is not a very long one. I was actually feeling a little stress for her as she went down the aisle, patiently serving her guests. She wore a smile that could be seen even with a mask. She was attentive, giving time and consideration to each of us as if there were all the time in the world available. She even took the time to offer us encouragement about our concern about later airport connections.
A small thing. I am quite certain that she had no idea that she had made an impact on us, because this is simply what she does. She serves people with grace and kindness. But like I said earlier, when we are a little more vulnerable, we see things in a different light. Her kindness to a traveling stranger WAS noticed. I wonder how often we take for granted some little kindness given that may deeply affects others.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the mercy and kindness of strangers, Amen