Lev. 19:34 You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Heb. 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
I remember whilst travelling in Israel/Palestine many years back arriving in a town at night. We were travelling by car, two of us, looking for somewhere to stay. We asked a local for directions and ended up being invited to his home, where we were welcomed and given food and somewhere to sleep. We also got to meet his wonderful Jewish family the next morning over breakfast. This incident had a profound effect on me, as I was on the receiving end of what has been called the ‘kindness of strangers’. This is something I, like many others, have experienced frequently as I travel. This is also the chosen title of Kate Adie, the journalist’s autobiography. Maybe you can also think of incidents where you have been on the receiving end of hospitality ….
Xenophobia is on the rise in Britain (literally the fear of the stranger/foreigner). The Bible encourages us to ‘practice hospitality’ thereby ‘entertaining angels unawares’ (Hebrews 13:2). An intriguing phrase…. The answer to xeno-phobia is to respond in the opposite spirit – ‘philo-xenia’ which is the Biblical (greek) term for generosity or hospitality. It literally means love of strangers and foreigners.
Phil Simpson, member of the Christian faith
Date: Monday 22nd June 2020