by Jason Braaten
My wife has fond memories of growing up in a home that hosted elderly widows, known to her as the Babushkas, from church and the small town in which she and her family lived. These widows were a regular addition to her family’s table for meals. It wasn’t just on holidays either. It was for brunch on Sundays, for picnics in the summer, on Saturday mornings for coffee and sometimes for no reason at all. It seemed to her that the Babushkas weren’t just visitors in her home and around the table, but they were, in some sense, a part of the family. And they were.
Our Lord cares for the widows and the fatherless. He puts the solitary in a home (Ps. 68:5–6). And He does this, as He does all things, through means. He presses into His service members of His family, the Church. He calls brothers and sisters united by the blood of Christ, claimed as children of our Father in heaven through Holy Baptism, to open their homes and their hearts, to invite and fill the spaces at their tables with others.
What a beautiful picture of the Church living out its identity in this world. What a witness to the world that the Church has been given in this small act of kindness. When everyone seems to be looking to be connected, seeking out authentic relationships, God gives this to us in His family, the Church. He bids us to care for the solitary, to invite them into our homes, to feed them with food from our tables, to love them as our own family. For, indeed, we are. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Rev. Jason Braaten is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Tuscola, Ill.