There is an expression on the Internet that goes ‘Too Long, Didn’t Read’ or TL;DR for short. The sermon from this Sunday is short. It was a busy Sunday as celebrated the Sacrament of Baptism, witnessed three young people Affirm their Faith and Ordained Three Individuals as Elders. By the time we got to the sermon, enough had been said and God’s word for all had been heard clearly.
Here then is the TL;DR version of the sermon: Offer hospitality.
Text: Luke 7: 36 – 8: 3
I’m not going to speak for long this morning. I believe that God has already spoken to us in powerful ways and so I simply want to highlight two actions of note in our gospel lesson.
We find Jesus at a dinner party. He has been invited by a Pharisee by the name of Simon. Jesus is at the table and a woman is present. She is described as a woman in the city who was a sinner. She stands behind Jesus weeping, then she bathes his feet with her tears and dries them with her fair. She then kisses his feet and anoints them with oil.
Simon is not impressed. If Jesus is a prophet, then he should know the woman is a sinner and not have anything to do with her. Of course if we know anything about Jesus this is not how things work. Jesus asks Simon a question about forgiving debts, which Simon answers correctly failing to see how the present circumstances was mirrored in the question.
There is a powerful lesson here about forgiveness. However, this is not what I want you to focus on this morning as there is also a powerful lesson about hospitality. Simon invited Jesus over for dinner and then failed to demonstrate any discernable acts of hospitality.
If I invite you come to my home, I will take your coat and hang it up. I will offer you a drink, I will provide something to eat. I have invited you to be a guest in my home, this comes with certain expectations which we attribute to being a good host.
What is lost on Simon is that he criticizes the woman for doing the very things that he should have done. He judges the woman a sinner and then fails to provide the basic necessities that hospitality demands.
Hospitality is central to our faith. Jesus is repeatedly in social situations where he is either the host or the guest. One of our sacraments is communion of which a central component is sharing a simple meal. We break bread and remember the one who came and we wait in expectation for when he will come again. We open our church and provide a safe location for people to come and enjoy a meal through the Soup Kitchen. This past week we hosted a senior’s lunch. Twice a year we organize a Tea and Bazaar. And every year we are a presence at the Waterfront Festival providing food to festival goers at a reasonable price.
Hospitality. It is a basic part of our interaction with one another. It was a vital part of the ministry that Jesus was engaged in. When Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth about how they celebrated Communion he was chastising their lack of hospitality for all members of the church.
Be mindful of when hospitality is offered to you and recognize that it may come from sources you hadn’t considered. Accept it graciously and return it in kind.
The final part of our gospel lesson I want to highly is almost a footnote buried in the gospels. It comes in the final verse that Katie read to us this morning. If you have ever wondered how Jesus and the disciples could afford to do their ministry this is where we find the seed of that information. We figure that Jesus was engaged in ministry for about three years and in Luke 8 we find out where the seed money for his ministry comes from. Mary, Joanna, Susanna and many others provided for them out of their resources.
His ministry was crowdfunded by a group of women who saw the value of what he was teaching, believed in the coming kingdom and recognized him as Lord and saviour.
These women extended to Jesus another form of hospitality. Giving out of their resources for the Kingdom of God. Hospitality comes in all shapes and sizes. I am thankful for the hospitality that this congregation has shown me and my family. For the ways that it reaches out into the community and extends the gracious hospitality that we have all be shown through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.