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2 Corinthians 1:3–7 ‘[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.’ (vv4–5)

The Good Samaritan story (Luke 10: 25–37) teaches us that the designation ‘neighbour’ knows no boundaries. With busy lives, we easily lose sight of anyone’s interest but our own. Church operates as a social space shared by any who wants to participate in learning to love God and others. 

Instinctive introverts will find such participation daunting and being available to others a stretch. Yet, as God voluntarily came to find us, we in turn now look out for others (Phil. 2:1–4). Our many distinctly different life experiences enable us to empathise with and encourage even complete strangers. 

Just as God comforts us through life’s troubles, so we are able to offer comfort to others, both friends and strangers. In a fractured world, the Church is a gift; a listening ear, a word of encouragement, counsel and support. The Church needs to equip people with the skills and confidence to serve their neighbours in practical ways.

Jesus always made time for individuals and their questions. The Church, God’s body on earth, is to offer hospitality and hope to those burdened by life, psychologically and/or physically. One question facing both Church and disciple is the amount of investment (time and resources) we’ll invest in response to others compared with that made into facilitating congregational gatherings. 

There are increasingly few places where people are invited to sit and enjoy a listening ear, but we all know how healing it is when listened to. Open the Church and let the stranger in!


Gen. 18:1–15; Isa. 58:6–9; Rom. 15:1–13; Heb. 13:1–6


What do hospitality and hope look like to you? Can you look
to serve the interests of your neighbour as much as your own?


‘Lord, may I learn to love my neighbour as myself and
so fulfil the law of Christ. Amen.’

Photo by Surface on Unsplash
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.