Touché August 26, 2016
Posted on August 26, 2016 by under Touché,

 

Take Five for Jesus

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”  (Hebrews 13:2)

It is good to be back in Hopewell.  Vacation was great, but my heart was pulled here as we had so many major pastoral issues while I was away.  I thank Dave Hondorp for leading through four funerals.  He certainly earned his title of “Pastor Emeritus” in these last three weeks.  I also thank the congregation for the caring and compassion that is shown to those going through tough times.  You reflect what it means to be the body of Christ.

As I was on vacation I worshipped in other places. I was reminded of the blessing of churches that practice hospitality well.  It can be a very scary, lonely moment when you are new to a church and you are invited for coffee, but nobody speaks to you.  In such situations, thirty seconds can feel like an eternity.

As I preach through the last chapter of Hebrews this week “Heavenly Hospitality” will be the theme.  Hebrews alludes to Abraham and the three visitors that came to his tent.  The writer says that “some have entertained angels unawares” (King James Version).  That is what happened to Abraham and should be the basis of hospitality of the church.  Each Sunday we practice hospitality because angels are in our midst.

In a talk on hospitality, Shauna Niequist says that hospitality is “creating space for someone to feel seen, heard and loved.”  She talks about the myriad of reasons someone may be in a church for the first time and how scary a moment can be when you walk through those doors for the first time.

On this vacation I was reminded of what a wonderful, caring and loving place this is for people who are known here.  I was also reminded of how poorly churches can welcome someone who is coming through the doors for the first time.  Therefore, I give a challenge to each of us at Hopewell: take the first five minutes of fellowship time for Jesus.  We want to connect with our friends and people we know; we may even have some church business to do, but before you do that, greet an angel. Take the first five minutes of fellowship to introduce yourself to someone you don’t know, especially if you see a person, a couple or a family standing alone.  Create a space in the fellowship hall where someone can feel seen, heard and loved.  Then introduce them to somebody else.  You may meet somebody who has been coming to this church for years, or you may meet an angel that Jesus has sent to this place for this Sunday.

I know we do this well, and I pray we do it well every week.  You never know when angels are walking in.

In Him,   Taylor