Lenten Bible Study – Day 25

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 – Day 25
 
Luke 11: 5-8
5 And he said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;6for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.”7And he answers from within, “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.” 8I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
 
Believe it or not, this is a parable about prayer. But it is also about hospitality. First the prayer part.
Imagine this: A man has surprise company. But he’s a bit short on supplies. So he goes out to his neighbor’s house and asks for help which he expects to get. His neighbor’s response? “I’m in bed with my family. Don’t make me get up.”
 
The tone of Jesus description of the friend in bed is sarcastic.
“Could something like this actually happen?”
And all his listeners would be shaking their heads no. It would be unheard of. Shocking! Shameful! Jesus says we are to respond to shameful refusals of hospitality with persistence. In other words, keep asking. That is how we pray to God. With perseverance.
 
Jesus puts it another way:
“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
 
But what do we get? In the words of Mick Jagger:
You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need!
This is how God responds to us. God will give us what we need!
What do we need?
Hospitality!
 
What did hospitality look like in 2016?
A bit like this, I think. Well, 15 people from JMPC and one from Florida went to Sibol, Chiapas, Mexico to help a Presbyterian congregation build a wall for their church compound. We were travelers on a long journey. When we got there, we were welcomed by our host, Randy DuVall. He had transportation waiting that took us to a place where we could eat and sleep half way to Sibol. We were fed … and given coffee! When we got to Sibol, we were fed lunch, given rooms to sleep in, hammocks or beds to sleep on and a worship service to welcome us. For the next seven days we were taken care of with food specially made to make sure we did not get sick. We were given purified water, so we could drink. And we were given places to bathe, though the favorite place was in a local stream. We were counseled on appropriate conduct and safety measures and directed to places where we could touch base with home if we wanted to. We were provided immense hospitality.
But we did not come empty handed. We brought our own form of hostess gift. To honor them. We came with supplies. Cement and VBS materials. And our labor. It was a mutual offer of hospitality. Mutual hospitality. We provided for each other’s needs. It is what God calls us to do and be.
 
Prayer:
Dear God, help us to understand our own needs and be willing to ask that they be met. Help us to see what others need and provide it to them. Keep us persistent in prayer and generous in providing hospitality. Amen