The word stranger, deriving from the Old French word estrange, evokes the opposite in its meaning, as it points to what is "external, foreign, outside, or without." To speak of intimacy with strangers is to experience a deep and profound closeness or innerness with what is most foreign or external to us.

In Hebrew, the word for stranger is zar, which means border. This meaning adds another dimension to our thinking about how we relate with strangers. An invitation into intimate connection with the stranger is a beckoning from across some of the boundaries, barriers, or estrangements that separate us.

Sarah York, The Holy Intimacy of Strangers