When was the last time you embraced a stranger?

Maybe it was someone you connected with in the checkout line. Maybe it was a conversation with your neighbor on a plane. Maybe it was someone who had a cool tattoo that you asked about. Maybe you helped someone who had dropped their things on the ground.

There are countless ways to embrace others. Embracing people is a holy and sacred thing. We are in our second week of Lenten sermon series called “What Would Jesus Do…Really? Reclaiming the Cliche”, and this week’s word is EMBRACE. Our scripture comes from John 4:5:42 where Jesus embraces a Samaritan woman at the well.

In this story, Jesus is sitting tired at the well when the Samaritan woman comes close to draw water. Jesus strikes up a conversation with her which catches her off guard. In that day and age, Jews and Samaritans did not speak to each other, and men did not speak to women in public. Jesus breaks a huge societal barrier to speak to this woman and reveal God’s love for her.

Jesus helps her to see beyond the cultural lines to receive God’s grace from the other. In this case, Jesus is “the other” that brings the woman the good news of God’s unconditional love despite her past mistakes.

In thinking about our life today, who is “the other” that might help us to receive God’s grace? As a child, I was often told to “be nice to everyone for you never know when you might be speaking to Jesus.” While we may not be speaking to Jesus himself, I do believe that God speaks to us through the people around us. The people that look, act, and believe differently than us might just be the people that offer us a word of grace.

This week, seek to embrace someone who may be different than you. Strike up a conversation with someone and see how it might change your day. May our embrace of one another give way for God’s grace to enter our lives and this world.

We invite each of you to come and worship with us this Sunday at 11am in person or online! We will embrace the presence of God and the fellowship of one another! We hope to see you there!

Peace and blessings,

Pastor Kipp