Pastor's Blog

Extreme Southern Hospitality

Extreme Southern Hospitality

Eric Runge, Council President - June 17, 2024

I had always heard of “Southern hospitality” while growing up in Buffalo NY, but I was struck by the warm smiles and “bless your heart’s” that abounded upon my arrival to Charlotte more than 30 years ago.  I was a Yankee outsider, yet Southern hospitality welcomed me with open arms and made me feel at home.

Jesus demonstrated hospitality in many ways throughout his life.  He ate with sinners, laid hands upon lepers, welcomed children, and spoke respectfully to outcasts and outsiders.  As followers of Christ, we are asked do the same. 

In Matthew 25, Jesus proclaims the righteous are those who demonstrate abundant hospitality-- not only to friends and family, but more importantly to the stranger.

‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  Matthew 25: 35-40.

Time and time again, our congregation has answered this call to show extreme hospitality.  More recently, Christ Lutheran is sponsoring the Hnatenkos, a family of three (and their puppy), arriving from war-torn Ukraine on June 25th. Christ Lutheran has shown overwhelming generosity to prepare for the family’s arrival with donations of supplies, air miles, and even cars! But more is required.

The family still needs initial housing upon their arrival—a place where they can feel safe and secure. The church is receiving monetary donations to cover the cost of this housing. Please consider donating to this effort simply by clicking HERE, selecting Other and specify "Refugee Housing."

Once the family arrives, let’s continue that Southern hospitality with providing home-cooked meals, invitations to visit, and offers to help. Let’s be extravagant in our welcoming, including, and giving. Let’s shower them with love and help them to feel at home.