October 3rd, 2018

[Jesus said] for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. – Matthew 25:35

These words of Jesus are part of a lengthy set of instructions as
Jesus sat with his disciples on the Mount of Olives. Curiously, the
disciples came to Jesus to wonder more about the signs Jesus had
indicated were coming regarding the kingdom. Providing basic
needs for people including food, drink and hospitality/welcome are
reflections of service on behalf of Jesus.

As I was growing up, the kitchen farm table was the centerpiece for
hospitality. It is the first thing you see as you enter the house from
the back porch. I often wonder what that old oak table would say
about the conversations that took place round it over the years. It is
the place where meals were shared and snacks were served. Games
were played and business was conducted. Family, friends and strangers alike have gathered over the years to be fed and nourished with food, drink around that old table but more importantly, a
sense of welcome was created.
It is no surprise Jesus highlighted welcome as an important part
of providing for people’s needs. As I begin ministry among you at
Salem, I am attempting to set a tone of hospitality, much like that
of the farm table of my childhood. My door is intentionally open
and I encourage conversation in order to get to know you and learn
how you sense God at work among us, to build trusting and lasting
relationships.
How are we at Salem making room for the strangers in our midst?
What are the ways our practices, facility, information, and attitudes
enhance a sense of hospitality and where do we need to improve?
The capital appeal is attempting to address such issues and it is my
prayer that we open our hearts, eyes and ears to share with one
another how we are and need to intentionally expand and improve
our opportunities of welcome for others. When we generously and
willingly serve others, we do to Christ himself who lives in and
through us.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for including all and help us to welcome all
in our worship as well as everyday lives.