One custom with deep roots is the ancient practice of Hospitality. When we moderns travel, we think in terms of spending a night or two at the Marriot or the Fairfield Inn, but no such thing existed for the Greeks. As Odysseus made his slow way back to Ithaca, he was dependent upon the open hearth and hand of those he met along the way who “mixed their wine and brought out their bread” to the strangers arriving at their door. And while Roman travelers came across the occasional tavern as they made their way back and forth through the empire, Paul more regularly relied upon the hospitality of the folks he met along the way.
Such open generosity was considered one of the markers of God’s people. Abraham invited to his table the road weary visitors who came to him by the oaks of Mamre. Rebekah’s father opened his home to Abraham’s servant as he traveled in the land. Manoah and his wife extended their kindness to the unknown man who arrived at their door, learning only later that he was the Angel of the Lord, which is why the letter to the Hebrews tells us to “show hospitality for by doing so some have entertained angels.”
As people who have tasted of the grace of our good God, you have continued the ancient practice, and set an example for those who will follow you. Marilyn and I aren’t exactly angels (well . . . Marilyn might be . . . ) but we have certainly enjoyed some very kind hospitality since our arrival to SouthLake by which you have refreshed and encouraged us. We thank you for your kind reception of us and look forward to ongoing fellowship in the name of our good savior.