When they were near Jebus, the day was far spent, and the servant said to his master, "Come now, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites, and spend the night in it." But his master said to him, "We will not turn aside into a city of foreigners, who do not belong to the people of Israel; but we will continue on to Gibeah." Then he said to his servant, "Come let us try to reach one of these places, and spend the night at Gibeah or at Ramah." So thye passed on and went their way; and the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin. They turned aside there, to go and spend the night at Gibeah. He went in and sat down in the open square of the city, but no one took them in to spend the night. Judges 19: 11-15 NRSV
There have been times in my life when I have been more welcomed, shown the best radical hospitality and had good wholesome fun with people who are far from being Christian. However, it is often my own snobbery (and perhaps fear of evangelism) that often leads me among other Christians. And what do I find? I find myself more often ignored, friendless, put down and made to feel like the lowest pond scum among those that I call brothers and sisters in Christ.
Here this Levite (again, what is he doing with a concubine and traveling all over like this? Oh, yeah, there is no king in Israel) refuses to go into the city of Jebus which is later Jerusalem. He says he isn't going to stay with people who are not racially and ethnically like him. Notice there isn't any real mention of religion in his snobbish statement.
Now this Levite, his servant and his concubine are needing overnight hospitality but he chooses to find a place with his "own" people. What he discovers is that there is no hospitality among those from whom he should most expect it. And what follows after this shows that he has made the wrong decision.
The Levite's snobbery will cost him as well as the people of Israel.
God, why is it that our natural inclination is to be a part of groups just like us? And why do you continue to ask us to broaden our boundaries? In Jesus' name. Amen.
Questions of the day: Have you ever felt extremely welcomed and at home from people very different from you? What did you learn from this experience?
Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims