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29.11.2023 : 22:43

Scripture and Other Resources for Hospitality

1. Genesis 18:1-15

The classic story of the three messengers from God visiting Abraham and Sarah outside of Hebron.  Abraham runs to greet them and prepares a feast for the travelers.  Before the three depart they tell Sarah she will have a baby within the year and she laughs. Hospitality seen as being prepared and welcoming strangers.

2. Matthew 25

The judgment passage when the nations are divided between the sheep and the goats.  Jesus’ famous passage “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 clothed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (NRSV) Hospitality seen as part of daily spiritual life.

3. Ruth

The story of a mother, Naomi, and her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, who are widows and childless in a foreign country. Ruth decides not to return to her home country but stay with Noami. The book of Ruth relates how mother and daughter-in-law find new life together and move from poverty and despair to hope. Hospitality is seen as the bonding between persons and the care for distant family.

4. I Kings 17

Elijah, the prophet, is sent to the home of a widow and her son during a severe famine and drought asking for food and drink. Through the work of God all are blessed as she offers and responds to the request.  Hospitality as an act of faith.

5. Matthew 22:34-40

The greatest commandment. Hospitality as offering the welcome you would also expect.

6. Luke 14:7-24

Jesus’ words about humility and hospitality ending with the parable of the Great Banquet when the invited guests made excuses and the host invited those from the streets. Hospitality as welcome for all persons.

7. Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11

The call of the first disciples. Hospitality as challenge and call to discipleship.

8. Mark 1:29-34; Luke 5:12-16

Jesus first acts of healing.  Hospitality as welcome and healing for the sick and outcast.

9. Luke 5:17-26

Another act of healing this time with friends caring enough for their friend to lower him through the roof to Jesus for healing.  Hospitality as caring for the whole person.

10. John 4

The story of Jesus and the Samaritan Woman.  Jesus reaches out to the outcast and engages in life-giving conversation.  Hospitality as willingness to engage all persons in openness and sharing.

11. Joshua 2:6

Rahab, the prostitute, offers spies from Joshua protection and cover in Jericho.  In return she and her family are spared in the battle. Hospitality as the unexpected offer of grace.

12. Mark 8:17b-18

Jesus in the boat with the disciples explaining the abundance that comes from sharing as shown in the feeding of the five thousand. Hospitality as an act of faith.

13. Matthew 5:43-48

From the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus command to love one’s enemies. Hospitality as that which reaches beyond one’s own friends.

14. Deuteronomy 10:17-19

The legal code for the Israelites based on justice and welcoming of strangers “for you were strangers in Egypt.” (NRSV). Hospitality as a command from God.

15. 1 Corinthians 10:15-17

The traditional communion words of consecration. Hospitality as sharing the oneness in Christ at the table.

16. John 13:1-20

The story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. Hospitality as becoming the willing servant of others.

17. Hebrews 13:1-2

The author of Hebrews tells the readers to offer hospitality to strangers without judgment for “some have entertained angels unaware.” (NRSV). Hospitality as an integral part of Christian living.

18. Luke 11:5-13

Jesus speaks of the power of perseverance in prayer.  The source of hospitality is found in God’s abundant grace.

19. Leviticua 19:33-34

The law about welcoming the aliens in one’s land.  All have been aliens and all have the same God. Hospitality as solidarity with strangers.


Recommended Resources from the Resource Library in the Coordinator’s Office at the Kirchenkanzei.  To obtain these books contact the Coordinator of Language and Migrant Ministries at undefined coordinator(at)

Oden, Amy G. God's Welcome: Hospitality for a Gospel-Hungry World. Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2008.

This book provides a description of the four marks of hospitality - readiness, risk, repentance and recognition.  A series of meditations are offered to examine the practical aspects of hospitality.  A study guide is included.

Oden, Amy G., ed. And You Welcomed Me: A Sourcebook on Hospitality in Early Christianity. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001.

A collection of primary sources and writings on hospitality with "questions for conversation" in the appendix.  Includes discourses, stories, testimonies, etc. from the early Christian church.

Pohl, Christine D. Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999.

This book provides a short overview of the history of Christian hospitality. Following the brief history the author defines and examines the practice of radical hospitality challenging the reader to reclaim the practice. In the last section several communities providing hospitality are introduced and explained.

Elmer, Duane Cross-Culture Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting in Around the World. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2002.

Duane Elmer is an expert on cross cultural issues. He has much experience outside the USA.  The book is written for Americans but raises critical issues about expectations and ways of living cross culturally.  Hospitality is influenced by cultural and this resource helps to identify ways the cultural differences can be replaced with understanding and welcome.

Hershberger, Michele A Christian View of Hospitality: Expecting Surprises. Scottdale: Herald Press, 1999.

Scripture and experience combine to define and describe hospitality.  Most illustrations are from the USA but the exercises and insights are transferable to the European situation.

Chevalier, Rebekah, ed. On Frequent Journeys: Worship Resources on Uprooted Peoples. Toronto: United Church Publishing House, 1997.

Prayers, stories and other liturgical resources for and by uprooted people – migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and others. Excellent resource for worship and also for raising the issues facing the migratory population.

Hudson, Chris Living Stories Series: Good Neighbors. London: The National Society/Church House Publishing, 2000.

This is an excellent resource for children about hospitality and caring for others.  Some of the stories and activities can be adapted for older groups.

Daniels, James, and Emily Howden and Richard Kuhlbars Silent Wounds: the Hidden Cost of War. Virtual Life Solutions, LLC, 2007.

This book is recommended when dealing with soldiers and families serving in the current wars. If your congregation is located near to one of the military bases or if military personnel might visit your congregation, this book provides some important insights into the unique issues facing this particular group.