Our community expresses love through both practical help and spiritual power. It could mean clearing houses to make them habitable for someone, providing food to those who have nothing, recycling baby equipment for those who need it, giving money to dig wells and build schools, healing the sick and praying for miracles. All is love. But one thing that really reveals that we have caught the heart of God is when we practise hospitality to the outsider, the marginalised, the rejected. It is when we include the excluded, and give special honour and value to those who have been pushed to the edges of society. It is exactly this that we see Jesus doing in the gospels again and again, much to the horror of the religious people. This might look like family hubs where such people are not dreaded but welcomed. It might look like us, on a Sunday, sitting not where we usually sit, but by who looks the most in need of our love; and where those who may not seem to fit in are given special care and attention, celebrated and not just tolerated. It might look like taking time to help a vulnerable adult learn new skills and including them as part of the community. It might look like many things. It does like many things. And such love has power to change the world.
Lord, thank you for the example that you set of loving the outsider and the marginalised. Thank you for the length and breadth of your love that all can be included. Help us to love like that more and more. Help us to be a church family that practises hospitality towards everyone so that no one feels excluded among us. Amen.