Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
A blessed and happy New Year to you! Perhaps, like me and Tim, you did some traveling over the holidays, or hosted family and friends in your home. (We managed to do both.) Being both a guest and a host got me thinking about hospitality. How do we offer it? How do we receive it?
I try to do everything I can to make guests feel welcome—the basics like clean sheets and fresh towels, but also extra toiletries, a candle burning in their room, the Wi-Fi password upon arrival, stocking up on food and drinks I know they like. These are the things that are meaningful to me
when I’m a guest.
I know that when I’m staying in someone else’s home, I often feel out of place. Not unwelcome, but perhaps a little unsure. I don’t know which cabinet to open to find the coffee cups. I’m not sure if I’m hanging up my towel in an inconvenient spot or sitting in someone’s special spot on
the couch. It honestly never matters to my hosts if I do these things wrong, but I’m always worried.
It made me wonder about the hospitality we offer as a church. How are we welcoming guests into our congregational home? What are the little things that we do (or could do) to make people feel at home?
Wearing our name tags, which makes it easier for guests and longtime members alike! Taking time to share the peace with someone you don’t know, or don’t recognize. Making sure guests are included in the passing of the peace and in communion. Speaking to and including new and
different people at coffee hour.
A lot of these things we’re already doing, which is great! But when I think of myself opening five cupboards to find a cup, I wonder what things we’re overlooking or taking for granted. Is worship accessible? Is our signage clear and easily noticed? Do parents know where to find the nursery,
or the right classroom for their child?
In the new year, I always like to consider a few “intentions” for myself, both personally and professionally. (“Resolution” seems so intimidating to me, I like the language of “intention,” better.) This year, one of my intentions will be to focus on hospitality at St. Paul’s, and I invite you to join me!
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2). Who knows what gifts and blessings we will receive in sharing a welcome with others!