Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
“Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
It was one of those quick church conversations while moving about from office to sanctuary to coffee hour. My TLC friend had visited another congregation in another community. The service was more formal but well done, the music was fine, the pastor, he said, “was not very hospitable.” It sounds like there was precious little hospitality to be found.
If you look in the dictionary you will find the word hospitable. It is situated between its neighbors, Hospital and Hospice. Most of us were born in hospitals. Our journey on earth began and we were 100% dependent on the grace, mercy, and sustenance of those around us. Our chance of survival on our own was non-existent. Through the years we become somewhat divorced from this reality. We would like to fashion ourselves as independent, standing on our two own feet, able to care for ourselves, proud and resilient, needing no one. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. I can say with great confidence that there has never been a single month in my life that I would have survived without the neighbors, laborers, and caregivers, mostly nameless, who helped me along the way.
Most of us were born in a hospital; if we are lucky, we get seven or eight decades on this planet. As the years pass, and age catches up with us, we once again become increasing dependent on others. It is a human reality. It is the journey of every fortunate human; it is a journey from hospital to hospice. If you find this to be not very uplifting, perhaps a little morbid, I might ask you, does reality bother you? Is denial beneficial?
If every human journey is lived between hospital and hospice, how might that inform our living and the grace that we show to strangers. If every human journey is lived between hospital and hospice, then we might be well served to give more attention to the word that is the neighbor of both, namely HOSPITALITY.
The pastor and the people were not very hospitable. If the Church of Jesus is to be the Church that follows Jesus, then hospitality must be present. Hospitality paves the way for Good News; a lack of hospitality will close the hearts and minds of weary humans who are trying to make their way from Hospital to Hospice.
May we intentionally double our efforts to be people of extravagant hospitality.
See you in Church!