Hospitality in the Bible and at New Joy

LGBTQ+ Welcome and the Bible

Hospitality in the Bible and at New Joy

On Sunday, February 12, we began a four-week Bible Study series on LGBTQ+ Welcome and the Bible. The second session of this series looked hospitality in both the Bible and also in New Joy’s history.

Each week we will publish Pastor Chris’ notes from these Bible Studies. These notes are edited and updated following the class. Still, these notes are not fully fleshed out essays, and they are certainly not everything that can be said about these important topics.


Kick-off questions
For discussion in groups of 2 or 3:

Describe a time you were welcomed into a new setting: a new family, a new church, a new workplace, a new community.

 What are the qualities of welcome that you have experienced and appreciated?

The group shared several examples of being welcomed into new communities:

 A family living off base, overseas and being welcomed by the Army chaplains on the nearby US Army base. The chaplains and the base chapel community offered important emotional, spiritual, and practical support for this young family.

 Someone being welcomed into a large family after getting married. Another “outlaw” – someone else who had married into this large family – showed him the ropes and made him feel especially included into his new family.

 One person shared how being offered a new job is a great kind of welcome – being included and welcomed because of the skill and knowledge they have.

 Several people shared about being welcomed at New Joy by people with warm greetings, invitations to fellowship groups, and simply by remembering their names week-to-week.


Hospitality is a key value in the Hebrew Bible. Leviticus 19:33-34, among others, calls God’s people to welcome and care for outsiders in their midst. Several Bible stories also demonstrate this commitment to hospitality.

Dive into Scripture

Divide the group into three to read through these stories.

Genesis 18:1-15

Luke 24:13-35

Matthew 25:31-46

Questions for discussion
In groups of 2 or 3

 Read each story and identify qualities or characteristics of Biblical hospitality

 What happens as a result of extending hospitality?

Genesis 18:1-15  Abraham and Sarah welcome visitors

Here Abraham and Sarah welcome three visitors into their tent. Notice how Abraham hastens to these three men, offers them food, rest, water. He bows toward them. He uses a title of dignity (“my lord”).

He prepares “choice” flour for bread, had a “good” calf prepared for them, and more.

It is not clear that Abraham knows these men represent the Lord. Hebrews 13:2 suggests that he did not (“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for in so doing some have entertained angels unaware.”).

In extended hospitality to strangers, Abraham and Sarah welcome God into their midst.


Luke 24:13-35  The Road to Emmaus

Two men leaving Jerusalem after the crucifixion of Jesus begin talking with a man on the road. Walking and talking with an unknown person along a long walk is a form of hospitality – they welcome him into their conversation. They tell this man about the events of the past weekend – the crucifixion of Jesus, his burial, and rumors of his resurrection. The man, then, begins to tell them about Scripture, teaching about the Bible in light of the events of the weekend.

At the end of the day the men welcome Jesus into their home. They share a meal together. When the man broke bread with them, their eyes were opened and hearts burned. They realized that they were walking with Jesus the entire time.

In welcoming this man among them, they welcomed Jesus.


Matthew 25:31-46  The Judgment of the Nations

In his final teaching prior to his passion, Jesus describes the Day of Judgment. In this telling, Jesus describes all nations gathered before the king. The king will separate the people from each other, “as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” And as the king welcomes some of the people into the kingdom, he explains why: “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me … just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

However we treat anyone, especially “the least of these,” is how we treat Jesus. This is a promise Jesus makes always to be with and among “the least of these.” Thus, however we treat – however we welcome – the poor and outcast, is how we treat and welcome Jesus.

Hospitality is an act of welcoming not just another person into our home, congregation, or community, but of welcoming God into our midst.

Welcoming since 2002

The class also discussed New Joy’s Welcome statement from 2002, as found on our “mission wheel.” Several years before both our denomination and the US Supreme Court acted in ways to affirm LGBTQ+ people, New Joy proclaimed a radical welcome:

God does not discriminate and neither do we.
New Joy happily welcomes all, without regard to race, income, or sexual orientation.

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