“I’ve given them the glory that you gave me so that they can be one just as we are one. 23 I’m in them and you are in me so that they will be made perfectly one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you have loved them just as you loved me.” ~ Jesus, John 17:22-23
“Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. 2 Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love,3 and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together.” ~ Paul, Ephesians 4:1-3
A faith community that takes hospitality (philoxenia) seriously is never comfortable. They are committed to doing the hard work of drawing close to “the other,” despite fear and vulnerability. They resist the urge to side-step the disruption of transformation with desperate calls for unity. Instead, they step forward into the fray of injustice and suffering. They join marginalized neighbors in their struggle for dignity, worth, and empowerment. They believe that unity is the *outcome* of solidarity with those pressed down by injustice, not conformity to a cultural Christianity committed to the comfort of “not causing division.” Unity is the *outcome* of Christ-like, cross-shaped, resurrection-believing love.
Jesus’ prayer for unity will be difficult to answer if Jesus’ people are unwilling to take philoxenia seriously.