Practicing hospitality through actions and words
For the past two years, a task force of concerned Good Shepherd members has been prayerfully working through the Reconciling in Christ process as laid out by Reconciling Works. I am humbled and grateful for the results of this slow and steady work that is being presented to us this month in the form of a “temperature taking” survey. The statement of welcome in this survey is the result of many months of conversations, listening, prayer and presentations to large and small groups in the church.
How a Christian community practices the spiritual discipline of “welcome,” we have learned, is more than just saying “all are welcome.” Practicing hospitality is lived out in actions as well as our words. Regardless of the divisions that are increasingly evident in our wider culture, it is our duty to respond to the grace and mercy of God by sharing the gift of welcome and care with all of our neighbors both inside and outside the walls of Good Shepherd. The Greek word for hospitality is philoxenia which is a combination of the words for “affection” and “towards strangers.”
We are called to welcome all people, especially those with whom we might not share much in common, in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s one of the marks of the church that makes us different than a private club or society.
Whatever happens in our wider political world, let us be known as a congregation where all people, regardless of identity, are welcomed, received and cared for. Please join me in thanking and supporting the work of the Good Shepherd Reconciling in Christ Task Force.