When she and her household were baptized, she urged us saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.
Acts of the Apostles 16:15
Their names were Mary Fran and Norman Cary! They were members of Rock Spring Presbyterian Church in Atlanta Georgia and were some of my strongest supporters during my intern year there, June 1984 through May 1985. They attended my graduation from Columbia Theological Seminary in May 1986. As Rock Spring Presbyterian Church’s pastor had left and there were a few interims, I was invited to come back and help out at the church in the summer following graduation. There was a housing problem as I could not remain in seminary housing. Once Mary Fran learned of my dilemma, she and Norman extended an invitation to live at their home in Marietta for the 3 months. They prevailed upon me. I accepted their gracious invitation and they could not have extended any greater hospitality than what they showed me that summer. They also drove from Georgia to Virginia to attend my Ordination and Installation as Pastor of Pearisburg Presbyterian Church. Mary Fran and Norman have joined the Church Triumphant, but I will never forget these “saints” and their hospitality and many kindnesses to me!
Lydia was one of the women that the Apostle Paul met at a place of prayer by the river on the Sabbath at Philippi. Paul engaged them in conversation. Lydia listened to Paul and the Lord opened her heart to what he was saying. In response Lydia and her household were baptized. Lydia was obviously a person of some means as she was a seller of purple cloth, which would have been fabric for the rich and powerful. She invited Paul and Silas to be her guests in her home. She prevailed upon them to stay with her.
It is wonderful when people welcome you into their home … when they do everything possible to make you feel comfortable and at ease … when they anticipate any needs you may have and quickly seek to meet them … and when they treat you not as guests, but make you feel part of their family. They have been given a very special gift … the gift of Christian hospitality.
Gracious God, we give You thanks for all those who have shown us Christian hospitality. Help us to desire this gift and to extend hospitality and kindnesses to others … so that who we are and what we have done will never be forgotten by them. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.