Day 32 – Stranger Love

Luke 6:31

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Throughout the morning of September 11, 2001, 39 international flights were diverted to Gander, Newfoundland, Canada as a part of the shut-down of airspace over the United States following the attacks on the World Trade Center.  The 10,000 residents of Gander were suddenly inundated with almost 7,000 complete strangers–passengers and flight crews.  Over the next several days, the tiny town opened their homes, businesses, and resources, providing food, housing, clothing, medicine and emotional support for the incredibly diverse “plane people”–from Orthodox Jews to Moldovan refugee families who spoke no English.

The story of gracious hospitality and uncommon kindness is now a Broadway musical, “Come From Away” which opened on March 12, 2017.  One reviewer, Jennifer Vanasco of WNYC, described the show as “a love letter…to what people can do if they set aside fear and hate.”

Questions for Reflection

How would you want to be treated if you were suddenly stranded in a strange place?

Why do you think the kind of hospitality Gander residents showed is so unusual and rare?

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2 comments

  1. I hadn’t heard of this! What a great story! That kind of hospitality costs something. I mean, all hospitality costs something, but generally we’re much more willing to show it to people we love or who we already have a relationship with. Plus it’s a major inconvenience to take care of a stranger unexpectedly. I’ve been thinking about how I can make more space in my life for the “unexpected” instead of packing my days so full that I can’t be bothered to help someone.

    1. I appreciate your observation that hospitality always costs something. It is sacrifice to give up our personal time, resources and space. We also have a cultural proclivity for dividing our lives between what we perceive to be public and what we want to keep private. Hospitality requires us to give others access to the parts of our lives we consider “private.” We are often unwilling to give that up.

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