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(Jesus said), “For I was…a stranger and you invited me in.” Matthew 25:35  
 

Her name was Kayla.  
 

I saw her first, singing on the praise team with a quiet smile, a joyful smile. And then she was beside us, hand outstretched during the sharing of the peace.  
 

Her smile was warm, genuine. She knew we were the strangers there. But she could not have known how much it meant to feel welcomed. For another stranger, who belonged to the throng of worshipers, to meet us and say, “You are wanted here.”  
 

She could not have known that my heart still ached for another community far away. For what was lost. That I didn’t want to replace what used to be, but to move on and embrace something new.  
 

I am used to being the welcoming face. I am the one who strides across the gathering space to welcome the stranger. I thrive on it; I feel uncomfortable if I am within a few feet of someone I think may be unsure, new. But then this season of looking for our new community of faith came upon us.  
 

“For I was…a stranger and you invited me in.” 
 

These beautiful words are familiar to many of us from Matthew. In the passage from where this was taken, Jesus gives a list of how you might greet him in your daily life. How you can show mercy in your daily life. It’s so simple, isn’t it? But how often do I rush off, failing to offer mercy when it is so desperately needed?  
 

That’s why it was perfect to meet Jesus face-to-face through a servant named Kayla. I needed that mercy, more than any human would know. And she didn’t need to know–she just listened to the Spirit’s prompting. May I always do the same.  
 

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