WEEK TWO: LOVE AS DAWN DRAWS NEAR
The Glow of the Porch Light
Hebrews 13:2 (NRSV)
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
When we walked into St. John for the first time, Jim and I had just moved from Toledo, so we had no familiar faces to seek out. In addition, Jim had served as a pastor for over twenty years and I had been a youth and education director. This time we had no leadership roles to give us a sense of purpose or to foster friendships. We learned that morning just how important hospitality is.
Thank you, people of St. John, for welcoming us that morning. Your hospitality was graciously shared by friendly greeters and ushers, easy-to-follow bulletins, song words on screens, Welcome Center helpers, a cheerful and comfortable worship space, a welcoming video, uplifting music (and people who lead with joy), Pastor Michael’s warmth and humility, and folks who shared blessings before praying together. We knew we had found our new church home.
But we were blessed even more by what happened after that day. Michael R. invited us to join a Tables of 8 group. Other individuals invited us to check out a Bible study or join the choir. We were asked to dinner by a few couples. Pastor Michael and Candy took time to get to know us. People personally included us to be one with them, to join them in this Body of Christ. THIS is hospitality!
Now that Jim and I are so happy to visit with our new friends on Sunday mornings, we may be neglectful of someone who might be feeling like we once were- a stranger who needs a friend, a person who wants to be included. It is a gift to be in community, but may we all be mindful of keeping our “porch light on” to watch for the new strangers coming to us, who also want to belong to this Body of Christ. Maybe the next ones will be angels!
God’s love glows in our hospitality.