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“       ander embraced the world.” “An   Arterbury, who studied early Christian
               oasis of kindness.” “Welcome to   hospitality, identifies three reasons.  I’ll
        Gcasserole city.” These are some of   summarize them in the three sections
        the ways Gander, Newfoundland, was de-  that follow,  focusing on how they are
        scribed in the media following 9/11. USA   seen practically in Acts. My prayer is that
        Today said, “Their simple hospitality to the   you will be challenged, as I have been, to
        unexpected house guests drew worldwide   follow their example. So, pull up a chair
        accolades.”  Hospitality is common – it’s   and let’s dig in together.
        a multi-billion dollar industry. But there
        was something compellingly different   Unexpected Guests
        about the selfless response of Ganderites:   When the New Testament was written,
        opening their homes, emptying their pan-  Jewish travelers were almost exclusively
        tries, and forming enduring friendships   the guests of Jewish hosts.  At the same
        with strangers from around the world.  time, the Greco-Roman norm was to ex-
          History tells us the same was true of the   tend hospitality to those within or above
        early Church. Although hospitality was   one’s own social status.  Knowing these
        widely practiced and promoted among   practices makes the guest lists in Acts
        the Jews and in Greco-Roman society,   quite shocking! Take, for example, Peter
        there was a powerful uniqueness about   staying “in Joppa for many days with
        what happened in the homes of believers   one Simon, a tanner” (Act 9:43).  Tanning
        during the first few centuries A.D. Even   was a reprehensible trade to most Jews
        Christian-hater Julian the Apostate, the   because of defilement from the carcases.
        Roman Emperor during A.D. 361-363,    So it seems, of the “many [who] believed
        noted:                                in the Lord” (v42), Peter accepted an invite
          “These impious Galileans not only feed   ³ Andrew E. Arterbury, Entertaining Angels: Early
        their own poor, but ours also; welcoming   Christian Hospitality in Its Mediterranean Setting,
        them into their agape, they attract them, as   New Testament Monographs 8 (University of
        children are attracted, with cakes …. See   Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2005), 96-97.
        their love-feasts and their tables spread   ⁴ I am indebted to Paige Gutacker for my three
                                              section divisions, which parallel three main
        for the indigent. Such practice is common   points in her article “Early Christian Hospitality
        among them and causes a contempt for   in Context: Three Christian Distinctives that
        our gods.” 2                          Extended and Transformed Contemporary
                                              Mediterranean Hospitality,” Summit Alumni
          What made the welcome mats of the   Network, February 27, 2016.
        “impious Galilean” distinct? Why did   ⁵ Arterbury, Entertaining Angels, 91.
        they have such an impact? Dr. Andrew   ⁶ Arterbury, Entertaining Angels, 96.
                                              ⁷ All Scripture quotations in this article are from
        ¹ Katharine Lackey, “An oasis of kindness on   the ESV.
        9/11,” USA Today, September 8, 2017.  ⁸ William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible
        ² Charles Schmidt, The Social Results of Early   Commentary: Old and New Testaments, ed. Arthur
        Christianity (London: Wm. Isbister, 1889), 328.  Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 1612.

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