Reflections for August 3, 2014
When I think about hospitality in the life of the church I always think about the day Deborah came to Kingston Springs UMC. After worship, people gathered around her to introduce themselves and to welcome her. This small church was one of the friendliest churches I have served over the years. I asked Deborah, “So this is your first time here?” She answered, “Actually, I’ve come here at least 6 times, but I never had the courage to get out of the car. I wanted to come inside, but I was a bit insecure about coming to a new church. If I had known how friendly you were, I would have come in on the first Sunday.”
Every Sunday Belmont welcomes many visitors. I hear many positive comments about worship as these visitors file past me in the narthex. We may never know the needs of those sitting around us on Sunday mornings, but what we do know is that they need to be greeted and treated with the grace of warm hospitality. They may be visitors or they may be members we have not gotten to know. Reach out your hand and say, “I’m ____, and I’m not sure we have met.” They’ll let you know if they are visiting or not and they’ll be grateful for your greeting.
A few weeks ago I spoke about the 15-foot rule. It means agreeing to be responsible for everyone who is within 15 feet of us on Sunday mornings. If you are in that parameter, I will be responsible for you: responsible to greet you or smile at you or get to know your name. (I tell introverts to make that a 10-foot rule.) We are here to offer grace and love and the environment in which transformation can take place in the lives of others.