Tomorrow afternoon, SHW and I will close on our new house. It is only four miles from our old house, still within the Foley city limits, but this house has the potential to change the way we live. Quite frankly, the house to probably too big for us, but isn’t that the American way. Certainly, the house is a gift, we couldn’t afford it without help offered, unsolicited (I add to make myself feel better) from family. Because it is such a gift, hopefully it will be easy to remember that we are merely stewards of a great home and that its true purpose is to be a place of hospitality. See, what sold me on the house was the vision our Real Estate Agent gave of a dinner party for young adults in our parish. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the kitchen, the Alabama game on in the living room, and dinner on the sprawling back porch.
As we prepare to move into this big (not) ol’ house this weekend, Jesus admonition to the dinner guests is front an center in my mind. How can we set up our new home so it is truly a place where we can welcome people in? How do we make it a place of hospitality, not for those who we hope will see our house and be impressed, but especially to those who often aren’t invited in to other places? How do we order our lives in order to be considered righteous at the day of resurrection?
Of course, these questions can and should be expanded to our common life and ministry at Saint Paul’s. In what ways are we open for the business of welcoming people in? In what ways to be appear to close the door on those who come seeking to meet the risen Lord? How are we doing at inviting those who often go uninvited into our midst? Who do we routinely ignore?
Jesus was big on hospitality, which means we probably should be too. How can you order your house or your church in order to be more open to the stranger?