One of the themes in the readings over the past few weeks is that of showing hospitality and reaching out in generosity. Showing hospitality and generosity to people we do not know or we meet for the first time, as well as those we know. Jesus says that we should show generosity to the stranger.
A group from Holy Trinity have just returned from our partner Diocese of Vasteras, Sweden. During our visit, we received amazing hospitality and generosity, some of us staying in the homes of families that we met for the first time. It was an example of overwhelming generosity as our hosts worked together to provide a wide experience of the life of the church in Leksand and the surrounding villages.
Hospitality and generosity, comes in many ways. Opening up our homes to welcome people, sharing a meal, giving time to share a conversation with those we know and those we meet for the first time as well as acts of generosity such as donations to the food bank, collections for various local and overseas charities, are all important.
I often find it easier to give than receive, to offer hospitality than to accept it, but being a guest and open to receiving the hospitality of others is as important as being a host. During His public ministry, Jesus and His disciples depended entirely on the hospitality of others as they ministered from town to town. Likewise, the early Christians also depended on and received hospitality from others. Receiving hospitality can be a humbling experience, an experience to be appreciated and respected.
Sadly sometimes, hospitality, the welcome to a home, to a place is abused. Holy Trinity church is open during the day, providing a welcome for people to come to visit and spend time in prayer and reflection. There have been occasions when books have been scribbled on, pencils broken and one occasion where bibles and kneelers were scattered around the church and children’s chairs turned upside down. This brings sadness as this spiritual place; this place of welcome is treated in this way.
The prayer of the church, of the people of God, is that people take time to be generous in hospitality, provide a welcome to others, and that acceptance of the hospitality and generosity of others, is one that is respected and humbly accepted and that brings joy in both giving and receiving.