Entertaining strangers

“Do not forget to entertain strangers. . . ” (Hebrews 13:2 NKJV).

We were not exactly strangers, since we had visited with Subi’s family before, but we were definitely foreigners. After a long drive to reach their village we came into their garden (as they call their “yards” in Asia) to find carpenters working on a new bed. They told us that they knew the old bed in the room we would stay in was too small for us so they wanted us to have more space.

These are not wealthy people, in fact they are by any standards very poor. But they not only wanted to share what they had with others, they wanted to provide even better than what they had used for themselves. I learned a new standard of hospitality, one that I believe is much closer to the teaching of Scripture than our Western conception, which is more likely to involve a polite offer of a cup of coffee than anything approaching inconvenience or sacrifice on the part of the host. Continue reading “Entertaining strangers”

Shepherds and Angels

“Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people:  Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Messiah the Lord. This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!’” (Luke 2:8-14 NET).

Most scholar’s believe this took place either in the spring or autumn of the year (not mid-winter, as sheep are not wintered in the mountains and the elevation of the Bethlehem area is over 2500 feet or 775 m). Both of these times were times when many sheep were offered in sacrifice in nearby Jerusalem – either for Passover or for the Day of Atonement. Continue reading “Shepherds and Angels”

A wee view of heaven

What will it be like in heaven? Despite the word “heaven” being used so often in the New Testament (around 240 times), there are very few descriptions of what heaven will be like and even fewer that talk about what it will be like to be in heaven. I am confident there is a reason for this: how do you describe something that is so much more wonderful than anything on earth, using purely human terms? Continue reading “A wee view of heaven”