Strangers

"I was a stranger..."
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"I was a stranger and you received me in your homes..."
(Matthew 25:35)

I'm growing rather fond of these fellows. On a hot sunny day they pause for several moments, almost posing for my camera. This damselfly looks strange and quite intimidating. Although they're not harmful to humans, that "whatchamacallit" thing on the end at least looks like it could deliver quite a sting --- but it doesn't. As a matter of fact, not only are damselflies not harmful to humans, these beautiful strangers eat many of the critters like flies and mosquitoes that irritate us. I've gotten to know these damselflies so I'm no longer concerned that one might sting me. We're no longer "strangers" to one another.

There are strangers among us. They may not necessarily be from a different neighborhood, state, or country. The strangers are more often somehow "different" from us in other ways so we call them "strange" and treat them like strangers. All sorts of rumors and myths grow around "them." We think they're "different" and "strange" so they must be dangerous.

I've learned over the years that when we get to know the "stranger" we generally start to realize that they're more like us than unlike us. Strangers who once were labeled as "one of them" are transformed into "one of us" when we risk getting to know each other and welcome "them" into our lives and our hearts.

Jesus knew the transforming power of love to bind us together when fear and hate would keep us strangers. He said, "I was a stranger and you received me in your homes..." I pray that God's love will always challenge me to receive the stranger. How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Gary
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia

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