One of the negative side-effects of church as subculture is the lack of welcome for the stranger that can result. To take in the stranger is not a matter of social etiquette. God commands it of Israel, and Christ makes it a criterion of eschatological judgment in the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25, a pericope much used in the Byzantine tradition).

Taken together, the gospels contain a tension between the command to Christ’s disciples to love one another, and the command to love the stranger.

Mobility, war, economic and social violence have made our age the age of the stranger.