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Hospitality



Today’s reading joins two very well-known stories together. Normally we would spend a whole sermon on just one of them, but I wonder if we can step back a bit and look at the bigger picture and the larger connections between the two. Firstly, I want to remind us that every story we are given in each of the gospels is there for a reason. These recollections of the ministry and actions of Jesus speak to a group of people who are travelling through situations and circumstances that are particular to them. This is why we get some stories repeated in each gospel and some not. So, I come to our reading today asking why did Luke give us these stories and why are they placed one after the other? Each story has hospitality within it. The fact that the Samaritan stopped and helped the man and then brought him to the inn at his expense shows us some extreme hospitality. Mary and Martha are offering hospitality to Jesus and his followers, one makes this happen and the other sits and listens to Jesus. So, yes hospitality is there, and hospitality is important, and hospitality was the theme I choose to focus on. However........ Sometimes the themes I might think we’ll head towards get changed slightly as a deeper reading of the text, the season of the year and the happenings of the world around us can pull me in a slightly different direction. As I have sat with this reading this week, what I have noticed far more than hospitality is the choices that were made around that hospitality, and in fact the choices that were made by all involved in our stories. In the story of the Good Samaritan each person has made a choice regarding their response to the situation, just as Mary and Martha have made choices around their roles in offering hospitality to Jesus. Now it might be easy to say that the correct choices in these stories were made by the Good Samaritan and by Mary. But there are other important choices. For the man who is set upon by robbers, his choice was to receive the care and help from a person who was his enemy, for Martha it was her choice to fuss and bother and care for the needs of Jesus and the others in her house. There are some important choices made by all of our characters in our reading today, let’s explore them together....... Jay Robinson

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