Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. ...Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, 'I will never leave you or forsake you.' So we can say with confidence,
'The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to do me?' ....
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
OK it's a little hard to show hospitality to strangers at present, but I found myself thinking back to a year ago when I was in lockdown at Keele. Across the campus people began to leave gifts on their door-steps for others. Flour was in great demand at that time. A family member bought an enormous bag of flour from a mill and then dispensed it into smaller bags, and left it in a crate on the doorstep. People came, took a bag of flour and left a gift - a home-made cake, or a casserole, or whatever they could give in return.
Across our world many people have given generously to others in need, and left gifts on doorsteps for those who were sick or in sympathy at a death. We have seen the way people have raised money for different charities, in the most imaginative ways, and offered to do jobs to help a neighbour. The word 'kindness' has often been on our lips this last year, which is wonderful, and goes someway to offset the "I demand" generation that we were becoming.
But have we stopped to think of those who are prison because of unjust regimes, who languish in prison through no seeming fault of their own? The writer of Hebrews asks us to remember them, and to continue giving as much as we can.
as You are generous to us,
teach us to give until it hurts,
and not to count the cost.
Show us how to help others
particularly those imprisoned unjustly,
and to continue to pray for them,
today, tomorrow, and in the year ahead.