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Entertaining Angels

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Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 

-Hebrews 13:2 ESV

Labels. We just LOVE our labels.

And we’re not talking about the label machine your mother-in-law was so excited to give you for Christmas so you could label your spice rack (still haven’t figured out how to use that one).

We’re talking about the labels we give to the complicated stuff: people, experiences, feelings. All the things we’ll never fully understand but want so badly to. We decide a person acts/looks like such-and-such type of person. Now we know how to treat them. We’ve experienced/felt this thing before, so we know how it’s going to go in the end. Now we know what to expect.

Labeling makes life easier and more secure. It gives us logical conclusions for how to navigate this board game of a world we live in (if a=b and b=c then clearly a=c). And it can help us. We hear a noise in the woods and we take precautions. We see a person wearing something that resembles the store uniform and we ask them where to find the item we need.

A tool, yes. Our master, definitely not.

Jesus was a label buster. He busted all our labels on the cross. We love like Jesus=we love without labels.

Easy to say. Hard to do. That’s why it is always encouraging and inspiring to see someone else doing it super well.

I sat down last week with our Care Ministry to talk about Project Home. We’ve been a Project Home church for about 7 years, this year hosting families in need of housing for two months. It is beautiful what the Spirit has built through the Woodland staff and volunteers that make this thing possible. They have truly cultivated a label-destroying, Jesus way of being.

“Homeless” is a label that comes charged with endless assumptions set on destroying the dignity of the person. When families come in to Woodland, the first thing we tell them is, “This is the place you sleep, so this is your home. We are your guests for two months.”

We had record-breaking volunteer involvement this year. 305 slots filled over 61 days, which itself is a testament to the love being poured out. Volunteers came by the family-load, giving the Project Home kids multitudes of playmates. The kids forget they’re homeless. Mothers relax because their kids are safe and having fun – no small thing given the immense stress they’re under. Our volunteers strive not just to treat the families like ordinary humans, but like honored visitors.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 

-Hebrews 13:2 ESV

Can you imagine actually entertaining an angel? You wouldn’t be like, “Wow, this angel is really prideful and judgey,” or like, “Um, angel, you’re in my house now, so can you like, tone it down a bit?” No! You’d be like, “Thank you for wanting to hang with me, angel. Here’s the most comfortable place in my house. And my finest cooking. And my most attentive self. And the ice cream I was saving for myself, but…you want it?”

In the moments we want to take the easy label-made way out, let scripture and our Project Home volunteers remind us: the people you interact with on a daily basis will know they are loved because you treat them as such. Angels, people. Angels.

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