Outbreaks & Contagions

Read: Leviticus 13-15

I admit that I have always found Leviticus puzzling and dull to read through in the Bible. The law laid out isn’t a fun read to me. I just kind of bear it. This year as I walked through Leviticus, I saw it from a different perspective.

In Leviticus 13-15, for example, we read about what to do in order to be made clean before God due to illness (which isn’t an intentional “sin”). Being sick as I read it, this stuck out to me. I didn’t get sick on purpose, after all. Like all good germophobes, I did all I could to avoid sickness. In Levitical times, not only was the sick person declared unclean, anything that touched the sickness was also declared unclean. When the sickness had finally run it’s course, the unclean one(s) were instructed to make a sin offering before they could be right before God again.

Along the same vein, God had a lot to say about mold, mildew and fungus. There were rules upon rules of what to do and not to do when it came to the likes of mold, mildew, and fungus – on leather, on fabric, on houses. And there was a ritual that had to be observed before something that had been infected was declared clean again. Not the most engaging and riveting read, I know, but stick with me because…

As I continued reading, I began to see Leviticus less as the rule book I had always viewed it and more as a visual of how infectious sin is by demonstrating how quickly and easily it can transfer to someone or something else – like illness, like mold, like mildew, like fungus! And God provided this visual at a very strategic time in His children’s history. He was in the process of giving His kids the land He had promised their forefathers; a land flowing with milk and honey, yes, but also infected with idolatry and every form of sin known to man.

It was as if God was saying, As you take possession of this land I promised you, be careful. Sin is contagious – like illnesses. Like mold and mildew. Like fungus. And while you’re cleaning the place of this stuff, I don’t want you to become i n f e c t e d by it.

Now, read Matthew 27.

Thought to Ponder

How does the Matthew 27 text correlate to the reading in Leviticus?

I am embracing feedback this year, so please share yours in the comments – the good, the bad, the indifferent! I’d love to hear your perspective.

Test Driving New Traditions

I came across a great idea at the end of summer while looking ahead to the Thanksgiving holiday season – a Thanksgiving Tree!

Perhaps the phrase “Thanksgiving Tree” heralds the nostalgia of school days with images like these…imagesthanksgiving_treethanksgiving-tree-2-apron-strings-other-things-570x526

Or perhaps the phrase “Thanksgiving Tree” brings to mind Pinterest-worthy creations like these?

We should have known Ann Voskamp would be ahead of the curve with this elegant table topper.
I should have known Ann Voskamp would be ahead of the curve with this elegant table topper.
This Thanksgiving Tree by Lia Griffith is absolutely enviable, right?
This Thanksgiving Tree by Lia Griffith is absolutely enviable, right?

Now put a pin in both of those preconceived ideas because when I say “Thanksgiving Tree,” this little beauty is what I’m talking about:thanksgiving-tree

I first discovered the whole idea of having a “Thanksgiving Tree” here and I love this site’s vision for a few different reasons. First, I scarcely decorate for Fall, much less Thanksgiving specifically. Second, I appreciate the focus on handmade decorations for our first “Thanksgiving Tree” because I have always have resident artists in my home. Third, it uses something I already own (the tree) in a new, creative way. Fourth, it cuts down on the workload that is December 1 in our home (the day we decorate for Christmas) by one tree.

So…this year we’re going to test drive this new tradition of a Thanksgiving Tree and see how she handles for our family. What about you? What new traditions are you going to test drive this November in your home? Feel free to share your great ideas (or links) in the comments section.

Thoughts on Practicing {Biblical} Hospitality from…

Guest post by Andrea Young. You can connect with Andrea on Instagram.
Guest post by Andrea Young. You can connect with Andrea on Instagram.




The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. (google.com)

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2, ESV)

A more direct translation of Hebrews 13:2 is, “Of hospitality be not forgetful, through this indeed unawares some have entertained angels.” That word – hospitality – is translated from the Greek philoxenia. According to Dr. Mike Burer, “It’s a compound word which combines the noun for friend (philos) and a noun which could mean either hospitality or stranger/alien (xenia). Put them together and you get the idea: either treating a stranger like a friend, or providing hospitality to a friend.

Based on the rest of the verse, this is the idea the author of Hebrews was instructing his audience of late 1st century Christians: Treat strangers like friends. In the context of the late 1st century, this probably meant inviting traveling strangers into your home to eat and sleep. I would be unlikely to invite complete strangers into my home to stay. It’s a condition of the times. So how can a modern Christian live out this exhortation?

When I see my friends, I greet them warmly. I want them to know I am happy to see them! I ask them about their lives, and I listen with interest. And I often do invite them into my home – frequently to eat, and occasionally to sleep. I cheerfully take on the house-cleaning and food preparation that signals to my guests: I am glad you are here! I want you to feel happy and comfortable. I want you to stay as long as you’d like. I am sensitive to your needs and will do what I can to accommodate you.

I do not often extend this to strangers with which I have occasion to interact. My introverted nature is on high alert in the presence of strangers, and it takes an extreme amount of energy to break through that self-imposed barrier to treat strangers as friends, especially when the interpersonal stakes and potential for rejection are high. Too often, I think to myself, “Someone more extroverted and well-spoken will greet that new person at church”, or, “That person probably doesn’t want to talk to me anyway,” or frequently, “Rather than get stuck in a conversation consisting of mind-numbing small talk with someone I don’t know, I’ll just sit here and look at my phone like I’ve got something terribly important to do….”

When Ericka asked me to write my thoughts on hospitality, I was planning on writing my thoughts on how to be a good hostess, and although related to hospitality, being a good hostess does not necessarily make one hospitable. For those friends I do invite into my home, I manage quite well as a hostess. I find it enjoyable – the planning, the preparation, the eating and drinking and the merry-making. It fills up my heart to make other people happy with food and conversation. But am I extending this to those who I do not (yet) call my friends? To strangers and newcomers? Or do I hide behind my sinful nature, afraid of rejection or unpleasant entanglement?

As with all other virtues, I will never perform this perfectly. I will practice hospitality. I would like to be a more hospitable person to strangers. How wonderful it is when you are the stranger, and someone makes you feel warmly welcomed! It is such a spirit-lifting experience to make a connection with a stranger who smiles at you, talks to you, asks you about yourself and seems interested in listening to you. It can transform your day, and in some cases it can transform your life. What barriers do I need to knock down in order to approach others that way? You never know who they might be, or what impact you might have.

Step 1: Smile more often.