Monday, November 16, 2015

Paris & Hospitality

Permission to be cynical? Caveated by the fact that I spend much less time paying attention to the news than I probably should.

Why is it that I see so much more about the terrorist attacks elsewhere now that the news is covering a terrorist attack in Paris?

Granted that the other terrorist attacks matter, and supposing the gap in news coverage is unjustified, the problem is not in the coverage of Paris, but in the lack of coverage of others. Supposing that problem, then, repentance will look like more coverage of the other terrorist attacks from now on, whether or not such news will sell, whether or not people care, and whether or not it makes us feel good to care about it.

Repentance will look like more caring, not hiding behind pseudo-care to avoid having to care about yet another evidence of the utterly fallen state of this world. Let us mourn for what is before us rather than diverting attention far and wide. Focus on the brokenness of this world, and call on the God who is just and will bring justice. Hope in him, and know our need for his great and perfect justice. He knows more than we do how broken this world is, and he cares more than we do. So much so, in fact, that he sent his Son to die--so great is our injustice and his justice--that we might live--so great is his love.

We were hostile toward God, yet he welcomed us into his kingdom, making peace with us by the death of his son. We crucified Jesus Christ, as we killed the prophets before him. He came to live among us, and we rejected him. He gave us the land, and we profaned it, worshiping idols in his house.

How then, since God has welcomed us in this way, shall we seek to exclude people from the kingdom? And if not from the kingdom, then how much more must we welcome them into our earthly dwellings?

There are things to be considered regarding how we keep terrorists from entering our land, of course, just as there are considerations regarding who is permitted to approach the Lord's Table. Yet the Israelites were called to welcome the sojourner among them, yet command them to keep their laws, and to exclude them if they would not. Therefore, I say, let strangers come in, yet hold them to the same standard as others.

I do not know how we strike this balance. This is a broken world. I do not know how the balance was struck in Israel. I do know that we must welcome the poor, the stranger, the widow, and that we rarely do. This is our guilt. We who are strangers on earth, shall we turn our backs on those who flee from their homes? We who are not yet at home, shall we, who know the yearning for our heavenly home, refuse to shelter others in our lands?

I do know that our home will come, and on that day justice will be served by the King. He comes to make things right. Therefore we seek to bear witness to his justice and mercy by showing the hospitality we do not deserve to the least, though they do not deserve it, and though they will not earn it.

Explanation/P.S. I have a paper due at the end of the month on the theme of Hospitality and how it is developed in the Bible.

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