September 22, 2019
Matthew 5:14–16 is one of my favorite passages. I love the way it reads in The Message. I am captivated by this idea that we are to “keep open house” with our lives. We are to live as generous people because of God’s generosity. Evangelism is simple: living the good news because we have received good news.
I continue to have fond memories of a backpacking ministry in my former church. Men would head into the mountains for a weekend in nature. Each night we’d have a campfire and share our lives around Scripture and prayer. We embarked on these trips twice a year. The trips were so much fun that men started inviting their friends who did not attend church. The weekends always brought us closer to God, one another, nature and life’s purpose.
One weekend, while hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail, we arrived at our campsite at dusk. We were settling into the shelter and pitching tents around it when a young woman stopped for the night. She was a little anxious settling into a gathering of 10 men. As she settled in the shelter, we invited her to share dinner with us.
After dinner the young woman remained with us around the fire for Bible study, prayer and sharing. She said very little that night. The next morning, she hit the trail before we woke up. But she left us a note: “Thanks for the hospitality, the Christian fellowship and prayer. This has been my first experience of Christian community on the trail.” (She was completing a thru hike. She had started in Maine and was inching closer to the end in Georgia.) She signed her note, “Boundless Joy!”
I learned a valuable lesson that trip. We are simply called to be who we are, and others will benefit from our presence. Let’s keep open house with our lives.
Rev. Dr. Ray G. Jones III; Director of Theology, Formation & Evangelism; Presbyterian Mission Agency
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, September 22, 2019, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
Today’s Focus: Evangelism Sunday
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray:
O God, your love is expansive. Your grace is sufficient. As you continue to transform our lives in Christ, remind us that we are part of your transforming work in our world. Help us to engage your mission with generous lives. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.