Tues Quote - Christine Pohl - "For much of church history, Christians addressed concerns about recognition and human dignity within their discussion and practices of hospitality. Especially in relation to strangers, hospitality was a basic category for dealing with the importance of transcending social differences and breaking social boundaries that excluded certain categories or kinds of persons...Hospitality resists boundaries that endanger persons by denying their humanness."
Tues Thought -
This weeks story begins with a Pharisee's disgust. But he is not the only one disgusted. Jesus is as well. As the story goes on it becomes apparent that Jesus is disgusted at the Pharisee. He is disgusted that he did not receive an hospitable welcome when he arrived at dinner. Jesus isn't so much personally offended that he was greeted hospitably, as he is disgusted that the Pharisee could act so hypocritically. The Pharisee isn't aware that he has acted offensively because he is so busy being offended by the sinful woman. Yesterday we ended our devotional reflection by discovering that Jesus had come to add a new dimension to the meaning of being holy.
Today we focus on what Jesus has to say about the holiness that pleases God. And that holiness is hospitality. The sinful woman who is shamed and excluded by the Pharisee is the example of hospitality. She is grateful to be able to play host to Jesus by washing his feet. She shows us that hospitality means something a bit deeper than being friendly. She humbles herself to serve Jesus. By both washing his feet and 'anointing' them, she is treating Jesus with dignity and honor. To practice hospitality is to give the gift of honor and dignity to those who have been shamed. It seems apparent that the Pharisee has shamed Jesus in his lack of hospitable welcome. (More on this tomorrow)
It is important to remember that while Jesus is redefining holiness in terms of hospitality (not only by dining with the sinful woman, but also by touching lepers, interacting with Samaritans and Romans, ect) this isn't exactly unique. The prophet Micah has already said something very similar; 'He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.' And we should also remember that the prophet Isaiah has also suggested this alternative vision of holiness when we wrote, ' Learn to do right; seek justice Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.' Jesus is lending his authoritative support to Isaiah and Micah's view of what holiness is. Instead of pursuing holiness as purity, which excludes and denigrates others, God desires a holiness that is hospitable, that serves the most vulnerable and bestows the gift of dignity upon the shamed. Holiness is meant to heal, forgive and renew, not create guilt, shame or enforce bias and bigotry.
Tues Study - Micah 6:3-8; Isaiah 1:10-20
Tues Prayer - For your holiness which seeks the lost and shelters the weak, I am grateful Lord, today. For your holiness that turned slaves into your chosen people, that heard the cries of the suffering and responded, I give you my thanks. For these are not simply stories from the past, but experiences for today. So I thank that I begin the day by being reminded that I am your beloved, not in in my strength, but in my weakness, not in my moral perfection, or strength of character, but simply because I am your child. For your holiness that reminds me that I am your beloved and the inspiration to be loving, as the sinful woman was hospitable and loving, I am grateful. Empower me today, to be holy.