Tuesday, June 20, 2017

From Strength to Strength...Hospitality a Spiritual Practice? Indeed it is!

Summer, 2017 is well on its way and so are the picnics, backyard barbeques and … if you are so blessed, pool parties.  On my neighborhood walks it’s not unusual to catch the wonderful whiff of hamburgers grilling and the sounds of love and laughter in the air.  It’s so inviting … yes, and also comforting to feel the sense of welcoming and safety these represent.

There’s something else about these summer gatherings that is now unique in our culture.  They seem  relaxed and unhurried.  Hurry, a norm in most of our lives now, … has been defined by Eugene Peterson as an act of violence against time.   Wow!  Just sit and ponder that one for awhile!

Consequently, when we create safe, open, unhurried spaces where friends (or strangers) can enter and experience the welcoming Spirit of Jesus Christ, ... we are practicing hospitality.
When we can sit with another, face to face, in an unhurried fashion, we are offering the gift of presence.
When we are willing to offer a cold drink and simply relax and listen to a friend who needs to process, we are acting as Christ to him or her. 

This summer try welcoming guests with all of your heart, lingering at the door when they leave until they pull out of the driveway, and then spending a few extra minutes praying for them before you move on.  Who knows, you may have “…unwittingly entertained angels.”  (Hebrews 13:2)
‘Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
Romans 15:7

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

From Strength to Strength...My Cup Overflows

The shelf in my kitchen cupboard reserved for cups and mugs is overflowing.  This seems a bit silly, for my large family has long since been launched, and while guests come often, they rarely arrive in large groups.  Yet every time I deal with that shelf (usually after unloading the dishwasher) I come to the same conclusion.  All the cups must stay because they all represent something important.​ 

I’m smiling as I think about those vessels that have special purpose:
  • Some are gifts from one of my children.
  • Others are simply remembrances of special places I’ve visited or frequented.
  • Still others simply have a comforting “feel” as I hold them.  

Ahhh and speaking of comforting “feels”, … some of the mugs are set aside for that hot, delicious coffee wake up, especially on more leisurely mornings.  Others can be allowed to hold only hot aromatic teas for mid-afternoon perc-ups or evening relaxation.  My goodness, I even have two huge mugs that are reserved for hot soups on cold winter nights and other mugs that are reserved for serving special people.  And…last but certainly not least, I also have a mug that a dear friend just leaves at my home for her frequent visits.
Silly?  Am I alone in this fetish or do any of you relate?  Do you have a cupboard shelf of vessels waiting to be filled to overflowing?
You know there really is a spiritual message in all of this.
Are you filled to overflowing today…pouring out to different people in different ways? 
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be God and not of us.”  2 Corinthians 4:7

“And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.”  John 1:16

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  Psalm 23: 5-6

If this speaks to your heart today, do share it.

God bless you all!