Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. —John 15:13
01 Apr, 2021
Restored into Connection
by Amanda Viviers
Today is a new day that is full of hope and the opportunity to reconnect.
As we celebrate the Passion of Jesus across the world, many Christians will take the time to reconnect with friends and family.
Holy Thursday is a day that commemorates the Last Supper—a moment to sit, connect and break bread together. As we reflect on the uncommon group of disciples who gathered with Jesus in His final days, we are reminded of His extravagant love: that He died so that we could live.
The Greek word for hospitality is philoxenos, which draws us towards its meaning: ‘for the love of strangers.’ Across the breadth of scripture there are many moments that ask us to love one another through connection, kindness and generosity.
Jesus restored hope by sitting and listening to the stories of people, often while sharing a meal. One of the ways that He extended the hospitality of His attention was to teach and listen.
Nine-year-old Jonas from the Dominican Republic had a secret he couldn’t share with his parents.
The municipality of Sabana de la Mar, where Jonas and his family live, is known for its high unemployment and extreme poverty. There's a high percentage of people with HIV and diseases caused by environmental pollution, including Dengue fever, Zika virus, skin fungus and flu. Adding physical distancing and curfew measures to the challenges they were already facing, it became increasingly difficult for Jonas’ parents, Miguelina and Domingo, to provide for their family.
After the Covid-19 pandemic began and his parents lost their jobs, Jonas found himself hungry often—a secret he felt couldn’t tell his parents. When the construction industry stopped and their community went into lock down, they weren't sure what they could do to meet the needs of their family. Simple things like food and medical supplies became impossible to find.
"It was a time of great anguish when we could not feed our children. They didn't tell me they were hungry, so I wouldn't feel sad and distressed. But I knew they were hungry, and it hurt me to see my children suffering and in so much need,” says Miguelina.
One day, the staff from the local Compassion program arrived unannounced with a basket of food and supplies. The whole family jumped up and down, crying from the gift of such simple things. "I was hungry, and when I saw them arrive with food, I was thrilled," said Jonas with a big smile.
In Mark 10:45, Jesus reminds us that, “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
This act of service from Christ began on this day by washing the disciples' feet, to remind them that the humility He embodied was for us to follow.
Today, as we read John 15:13 together and reflect upon the sacrifice of His life for ours, it is an opportunity for us to remember its basis: love. And as we read together the Easter story, it is a great reminder to know that it began with an act of hospitality, a longing for reconnection.
We are known, we are loved and we have been restored into connection with Christ, who longs to sit with us in our present moment.
It’s a good day to extend hospitality once again.
Father, today we take the time to acknowledge those who sit alongside us and break bread. May we remember to also extend hospitality to strangers as well. As we eat together, help us to remember those who have little. May we be reminded of Your faithfulness and may You show us ways to be generous once again. Amen.
Do you have a story where the hospitality of strangers impacted you deeply? Is there someone you could celebrate with this Easter over a meal?
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