1 Peter 4:8-11--"Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another. As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
Commentary from a sermon of St. John Chrysostom:
“If you receive your neighbor as though he were Christ, you will not complain or feel embarrassed but rather rejoice in your service. But if you do not receive him as if he were Christ, you will not receive Christ either, because He said, “Whoever receives you receives me.” If you do not show hospitality in this way, you will have no reward.” (From the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture XI.)
When we reflect on the above passage from 1 Peter and the commentary from St. John Chrysostom, we cannot be but moved at the great joy and responsibility we have at treating one another with love, gratitude, and hospitality. This one-anothering, as I have learned to call it, is one of the fundamental building blocks of the Christian life. We are to follow our Lord on the narrow path of self-emptying which is demonstrated, lived out, in our serving the other. Who is the ‘other’? Most often we think of the ‘other’ as someone unrelated to us by blood or marriage. My literal neighbor, the guy at work, the lady I pass on the sidewalk each day. Bishop Kallistos Ware would teach that the other is whoever is in front of me at this moment: my spouse, my daughter, my co-worker, my fiancé, the stranger at the market. We must ‘one-another’ beginning with the one whom God has place in my path right now. God give us the strength to receive each other as if receiving angels unawares—or as if Christ Himself were standing before us!