We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us. ~ Acts 16:11-15
Lydia is an outsider.
She's not just an outsider to the Jews, she's an outsider to the people of the city where she now lives, Philippi. She's just the kind of outsider who is attracted to this good news that Paul is spreading.
We don't know much about her, but can imagine that given that she deals in purple cloth, she has income. And the fact that she has an home to offer up for hospitality says something as well. She calls it "my" home. Not my husband's home.
That makes her an outsider to her culture as well.
And she opens that home to Paul and his traveling companions.
This reminds me of Jesus sending out the 12 and then the 70 into homes to receive hospitality and to spread the good news. In both cases, the church - Jesus' followers - are going out into the world to receive rather than expecting the world to come to them.
What are places in the world where you are being called to experience hospitality from "outsiders" and spread God's good news?
Lord, set me on a path to spread your good news and enter into relationship with those I might least expect. Amen.