Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
How do we treat the stranger in our midst? When someone new comes to church, arrives in your neighborhood, or appears at work, how do we treat them? Better yet, how does Christ want us to respond? Throughout the New Testament, Jesus is welcoming to all...he includes, he welcomes, he makes them to feel important, he listens to them. Pretty simple things to do, yet often we don't do these things really well.
Recently, at All Saints we have started something new to welcome those who have decided to join us for worship. One of our fellow parishioners takes responsibility to welcome and include all guests and visitors. When they depart they are given a gift bag with a coffee mug, a pen, a pamphlet on All Saints, and Fr. Gary's card. Later that day, someone from All Saints visits the visitor and brings them a loaf of bread, it is a wonderful way to let them know that God's Kingdom at All Saints is caring and loving. On Monday, Fr. Gary writes the visitors a personal note thanking them for their presence among us and offering any assistance they might need.
I would like to say that this happens 100% of the time, but like every process, sometimes we fall short. Sometimes we don't notice someone or maybe, for whatever reason, it just doesn't register with us. For some of us we find it difficult to approach someone new and welcome them and then they might fall through the cracks.
What I'm really talking about here is the ministry of Hospitality. All Saints does a pretty good job, better than most, at being warm and welcoming. So, not resting with what is just good, are we ready to take the next step? Hopefully, you are asking, "What is the next step?" I'm glad you asked. True hospitality is more than a warm hello, a gift bag, a note card, and a loaf of bread. What I'm getting at is the ministry of "Radical Hospitality." Radical Hospitality is when we realize that we become better and get closer to Jesus Christ through the presence and ideas of the stranger, the visitor, the guest. We need all persons to become part of the Body of Christ here at All Saints and when we radically welcome, not only their presence, but their ideas, desires, needs, struggles, and challenges we become better ourselves.
We have invited God into our hearts, let us all make space for the living God in our lives by practicing Radical Hospitality.
Blessings this week and See You Sunday!
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