“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” – Matthew 10:40
A colleague tells the story of how years ago, out of great trust or great foolishness, I hopped a plane to Mexico on short notice to meet an author whose writing had affected me profoundly. The foolish part was that I had not made lodging arrangements and my Spanish was wanting. I did have a housing list, and was destined for a convent.
A long bus ride into the countryside later, I arrived not at a convent, but a monastery. Less than welcomed, I was offered a phone, and called each number on my housing list, getting nowhere until finally reaching an English-speaking woman.
Turned out I was far from any lodging, and the last bus to town long departed. “No taxi driver will come for you unaccompanied. The only way you’re going to get to town is for me to take a taxi to come get you,” she said, and directed me onto the road to wait.
Time passed. Darkness fell. Coyotes howled, sending chills as they mocked my foolishness. Finally, a taxi pulled up about 20 feet ahead of me; a young woman burst out, threw her arms around me, kissed me and whispered, “You’re my husband. I’ll explain later.”
In short, the taxista had attempted to take advantage of a woman alone. She was only able to discourage him by saying she was pregnant and needed to get to her husband.
In the end, this woman escorted me, a complete stranger, to a hotel, saw me safely registered and bid me farewell, asking nothing in return. This in spite of understanding the risks to her safety.
I have recently renewed my interest in ancestry.com and my search in discovering where my family is from. I am reminded that my family came to America by way of France, England, Scotland, Ireland. We came to America in the 1770’s. This was not our home, but we were welcomed and became Americans.
In my friend’s story we are reminded that if this lady can do what she did, what can we do to welcome the stranger to our church, our neighborhood, and across any border that might separate us?
Dear Lord, help me welcome the stranger, knowing that when I do, I welcome not only her, but you, in and through Jesus. Amen.
Grace and Peace
PS: Thanks for the many Happy Birthday wishes.