Painting, Dorothy Day and Homeless Christ
June 27, 2023

Jesus of Unexpected Hospitality

A prayer based on Matthew 10:40-42, the gospel reading for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost that can be adapted into a prayer of confession, intercession, illumination or application.

Jesus, our merciful and welcoming God, 

you who lived a life welcoming into fellowship 

those who so many had rejected, 

teach us the same spirit of hospitality. 

We don’t always expect the messengers you send 

and sometimes they show up in the people we are most likely to reject: 

those who think, look, or live differently than us. 

Show us how to welcome the stranger in your name 

and receive from them all they have to offer. 

As we hold out the cups of water to each other, 

give us through this neighborliness, 

the gift of living water. 

In your name we pray, 




The middle chapters of Matthew’s gospel reveal a Jesus who defies expectations: Jesus breaks traditions, spends time with and heals the wrong sort of people, and preaches not rousing sermons of rebellion and nationalism, but obscure parables about a coming Kingdom of mercy and forgiveness. In these chapters the devotion and obedience of his disciples and the desperate need of the crowds is set against a backdrop of resistance from religious leaders, puzzlement from John the Baptist and his followers, and his family’s interfering concern for his mental health. 

The unexpectedness of Jesus’ kingdom ministry in the gospel of Matthew can guide us in our journey of humility with Jesus in our own daily lives and in the lives of our churches. We don’t always know what to expect about God’s kingdom building work, but Matthew instructs us in the essentials that we need to follow this unexpected Jesus wherever he takes us.

Dr. Bethany Besteman is the worship coordinator and church administrator at Silver Spring Christian Reformed Church in Maryland where she lives with her husband and son. She also works as the intake editor for Reformed Worship.