In the midst of all the brown ducks and black Canadian geese was this one white goose. Lots happening around this one goose but this one just sat there. Ducks swam and waddled by and geese squawked but this one was simply alone. I am probably reading a lot more into the scene but I thought of all the times I’d see a guest show up at worship or another church function and they’d be by themselves while everyone else did their regular routines. I remember a time in a previous congregation I served where most people wouldn’t show up until 10-15 minutes after the service started, leaving guests who arrived on time or early to wonder if anyone else would actually show up. There were more than a few times those new folks got up and left.
How do we treat the stranger in our midst? Not only in a church, but in every day life? As an introvert, I know it is natural for me to focus on those I know or with whom I think I’ll be comfortable – But as a Jesus follower, I’m not called to the comfortable. I’m called to the loving, to the welcoming, to the compassionate. Jesus said we welcome him when we welcome a stranger. The book of Hebrews tells us to show hospitality to strangers. The Hebrew books of the law speak over and over to welcome the sojourner (or foreigner, depending on translation) because they were strangers themselves before.
How beautiful would it be for us to be people who would look to welcoming first, especially that one off by themselves? What if we were intentional about our second gaze to see more than those we know to see the many others?